I'm missing my vegetable garden. Having moved just over a year ago from a house with a garden large enough for a sizeable vegetable plot, I am currently looking at my half-completed courtyard garden and considering the new planting in terms of productivity. My aim is to create a garden that uses largely productive plants to tick both ornamental and culinary boxes. There are plenty of plants to choose from that will thrive in my south-facing patch, and I have my eye on a Noir de Caromb fig for the giant Cretan pot currently stranded outside the front door. I need to remove the fence to get it into the back garden, but once there the pot and tree will make a great statement and set the tone for the rest of the garden.
Asparagus - tricky to get going, but giving a long display of its hazy fern when established - is also on my hit-list, along with masses of the woody Mediterranean herbs that I love for their form and flowers as well as their value in the kitchen. A vine should cope outdoors in this sheltered aspect - maybe a scented Muscat, the type of grape it's difficult to buy in the shops, is pushing my luck, but it has to be worth a try, doesn't it?
And then there will be the annual crops - there are some classy-looking individuals here as well, but they need careful deployment to fit in without turning the planting into an allotment. Leek 'Saint-Victor', with glaucous blue leaves is both delicious, and if allowed to run to seed in a few cases, beautifully ornamental as well, the loose allium head standing at head height and fading through the winter. Sweetcorn, with silky grass tassels and the red-flushed Cos lettuce, 'Cocarde' should look good with red orache weaving through them.
Well, that's a start - for the time being I have to satisfy myself with a photo of a frosted plant pot, and a well-thumbed seed catalogue.