Edibles Amongst the Ornamentals

Rhubarb, Allium and Podocarpus lawrencei ‘Red Tip

I am a proponent of tucking edibles in amongst ornamental plants. But this garden design strategy has its drawbacks, especially when the pleasing nature of a plant combination relies on a particular attribute of the edible plant. In my case, the dilemma involves rhubarb. When should I harvest it?

I love the contrast provided by the humongous rhubarb leaves. But when I harvest the rhubarb, which I so enjoy, it leaves a gaping hole where once there was striking foliage. The problem is amplified because I’m planning to open my garden to visitors in a few weeks and I want them to appreciate the impact of my plant choices.

Please the stomach or give priority to aesthetics? I think it’s time for a rhubarb and strawberry pie!