Once again, the Rockway Gardens staff (led by Garden Supervisor, Karin Clemens) have been successful in their initiative to grow edible plants alongside the traditional ornamentals in Rockway’s garden beds. Each season, they donate the harvest to several local organizations who help to feed members of the community, and this year was no different.
The 2022 harvest occurred over a six week stretch. Edible varieties were chosen not only for their nutritional value, but also for their dramatic and fantastic looks. Here’s a list of what was included:
- Kale Black Magic, a Tuscan variety that features long, dark, silvery leaves.
- Kohlrabi Vienna White, a lesser known vegetable with cabbage-like leaves that form a ball at the surface of the soil. Their flavour resembles a radish, without the pepperiness.
- Bronze Fennel, a brown foliage variety that can be put into a perennial border and re-seeds. All parts of this plant can be used to flavour dishes, and it also provide a habitat for some of native swallowtail butterflies.
- Pepper Mad Hatter, a mini bell pepper that is shaped like bishop’s mitre and has a little kick.
- Basil Cardinal, a Thai type of basil with a liquorice flavour.
- Fennel Cristal, a bulb type fennel that can be commonly found at the grocery store. The stem widens to make a bulb shape, and all parts of the plant can be used.
- Parsley Forest Green, a ruffled leaf parsley that makes a very showy border for the whole season before it’s harvested.
- Swiss Chard Northern Lights, a variety with a rainbow of colours. The stem colours can be white, pink, orange or yellow with a dark glossy green leaf. They are very high in vitamins and a great addition to stews!
- Beets Rainbow Mix, which are beets that come in an interesting array of colours. The orange, yellow, white and purple varieties have a stem and beet root of the same colour. The red variety has purple and red leaves and beets. There is also a candy cane variety who’s beet resembles a peppermint candy when it’s cut open.
- Common Sage, planted as a perennial at Rockway and harvested every year. It is a great showy plant that has grey foliage to highlight against the green in a bed. It can also be used in an annual bed.
Some of the organizations that benefited from the the 2022 harvest include,
- Ray of Hope. They provide a marketplace for people to come and pick up veggies to help feed their families.
- St John’s Kitchen, via Marina’s Kitchen at The Working Centre. Chef Michael, a Red Seal Chef, and his team cook 600 meals a day to feed the homeless in our community.
- House of Friendship. Donations from the Rockway team went towards feeding approximately 40 individuals who were housed at the organization’s Charles Street location, as well as to their marketplace on Guelph Street that supports low income individuals.
Thank you again to Karin and the Rockway Gardens team for your efforts with this amazing program! Are you interested in learning more about how edibles can be incorporated into an ornamental garden? Send us a note!