Make the Most of Your Summer Garden

The summer garden affords you plenty of opportunity for creativity, and these crafty creations are are just the tip of the iceberg

Credit: Jackie Connelly

Growing and preparing good food for friends and family

Make full use of your summer garden with these fun and imaginative ideas

With a little planning and planting, your summer garden days can be lush with gustatory and social pleasures.

When choosing vegetable varieties – whether from seed or starts – keep an eye out for those with ornamental qualities.

Colours and textures are handsome in the garden and enliven meal times as well. Select lettuces with burgundy or ruffled leaves, bright-yellow summer squash and cheerful chard for a striking harvest.

Hosta-leaf Coasters and Grass Braids


Gussy up your outdoor furniture with these playful plant crafts (Images: Jackie Connelly)

When warm summer days arrive, invite friends and family to share in the bounty, and let yourself be creative – it’s good for the soul. Accentuate the whimsical aspect of entertaining in your garden with fun touches, such as hosta-leaf coasters and grass ribbons.

Pretty braids can be made with anything long and lanky, including dramatic black mondo grass. Secure the grass blades with an elastic, then braid and tuck the tail around for a clean finish.

Chocolate Leaves

Chocolate covered leaves

Create memorable desserts with chocolate leaves (Image: Christina Symons)

Sweet and velvety chocolate leaves are the perfect edible garnish for everyday or special occasions. They look elegant atop a cake, or adorning cupcakes. To add a bit more garden garnish to a simple chocolate birthday cake, scatter edible leafy embellishments over a whipped-cream frosting.

Making chocolate leaves is easy! Simply coat the underside of an edible leaf (we used bay leaves) with melted chocolate. Let the chocolate set and when it has hardened, peel the leaf away. What remains is a decadent chocolate impression of the original. Make multiples, so every slice of cake receives this garden-inspired touch!

Hanging Baskets, Canoe Planting and Terracotta Pot Gardening


Get creative with how you grow plants (Image: Jackie Connelly)

In the above photo, a hanging basket hosts shelling and edible-pod peas (left). A canoe with holes is generally not a good thing, but this one is sailing through summer with such passengers as ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard, parsley, scarlet runner beans and leaf lettuce (top right).

Finally, a wooden flat with terracotta pots of seedlings is ornamental in its own right (bottom left).

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.