Sunflowers and Flowers In The Vegetable Garden

Titan sunflower at dawn

The sunflowers are in full swing right now in the garden. In the entry way are ‘Titan’ sunflowers. I call them the guardian angels of the garden. They can get huge (up to 24 inches) although mine did not this year as they were planted late (like middle of June). Still beautiful.

Hopi sunflowers

Inside the entry are some other sunflowers-Hopi sunflowers, and Chianti sunflowers. We also have wild sunflowers that grow here in NM, they just haven’t found my garden yet.

Tip Top nasturtiums

I love the green and white dappled foliage of these Tip Top nasturtiums against the other greens in the garden.

Borage is a bee plant

Borage is a companion plant to strawberries and the bees love them too. I’ve never seen the strawberry plant so lush and the bees are crazy for them!

Scarlet Runner Bean

Scarlet Runner beans are a vining pole bean and produce a beautiful orange flower. Here a bumblebee is visiting some flowers.

Entrance to the garden

Scarlet Runner beans compete with the Rattlesnake beans for the arbor.


The zinnias look great mixed in with ornamental corn, tip top nasturtiums and cosmos.


The cosmos next to the silver leafed squash are in full bloom now.

All the flowers have added to create a beautiful entrance and attract beneficial insects as a bonus. I even saw some hummingbirds this year in the garden which I haven’t seen before. If you didn’t plant flowers in your veggie garden this year, you should perhaps consider them for next year. They add so much beauty and I love hearing the bees in the garden doing their thing.

Edible Flowers List for 2011


titan sunflowers

There are many flowers that are edible and beautiful either in regular garden or vegetable garden. I like to put all kinds of flowers in the veggie garden—some pollinators, attractors, and edible. I like the entrance to the veggie garden beautiful.  Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:




Lavender (in existing different area)

Marigold-Lemon Gem

Nasturtiums-Alaska Tip Top



Roses (in different existing area)

Black Oil Seed sunflower (for the birds!)

Titan Sunflowers

Christmas Cactus blooming!

Closeup of a Christmas Cactus Flower-Jan 2011

I have a Christmas cactus which isn’t exactly a vegetable (what’s it doing here) and isn’t exactly a cactus. It is a Zygo-cactus that looks more like a succulent. With care it can bloom around this time of year. I noticed my flower buds in early December and it was blooming by Christmas. I got to admit, I’ve never had much luck in getting them to bloom so I did some research this year (after it bloomed)  It is amazing it bloomed at all this year considering I did almost everything wrong.

Christmas Cactus plant-Jan 2011

There is actually 3 hybrids of this cacti-Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Cactus so maybe you don’t have the Christmas type if you didn’t get it to bloom around that time. It is native from Central and South America and is a member in the Zygo-cactus family (that’s not Zydeco-it won’t dance). They are tropical cacti and have different care requirements than the standard cacti. So here is what you should do and what I did..

1. Your suppose to keep them in a cool room starting around Sept-Oct, in indirect light and where the temperature is around 50°. I had it in my main great room, in indirect light but in a part of the room where it was right by the floor heater. I have to admit temperatures were certainly much higher as I’m not going to be in that cold of a room! Around Thanksgiving I noticed the leaves burning from the heaters so I moved it further away.

2. They also say to keep it in total darkness at night. That didn’t happen either as their are big windows that let the moonlight in and there are many sleepless nights where I go out into the great room (meaning lights on).

3. We’re suppose to water less when you want them to bloom which I always do anyways. Less meaning I really let it dried out between waterings but not to the point of wilting.

4. Christmas cactus require 50-60 % humidity. Good luck on that one in high desert. I coulda put a pan of water by it but like I said put it by the heater instead. Opps..

5. It likes to be pot bound-no problem there.

Fertilome Geranium, Hanging Basket & Pansy fertilizer

6. The best fertilizer is 0-10-10 but they say no higher than 10 on the nitrogen which would be a 10-10-10 fertilizer. I blew it there too. I started giving it a 20-20-20 around the beginning of November  which I have never done before. Suppose to fertilize around 3 times (that sounds about right)  But the plant  By December 15th or so it started getting little flower buds! It seem to really liked it. The fertilizer was  ‘Fertilome Geranium, Hanging Basket & Pansy’, all purpose fertilizer -20-20-20 (non organic-only in house)

So here’s what I got right (and evidently it was enough): the indirect light, didn’t overwater, let it be pot bound, and did give it some fertilizer (although the wrong ratio). It is still flowering beautifully. Evidently it’s not as picky as they say. Good thing plants are so forgiving at times..