Why fill up your vegetable garden with rhubarb when you can use it as an ornamental plant in the garden border?
The idea of combining edibles and ornamental plants in the border is not new but we tend to think in terms of frilly lettuce, colorful Swiss chard or jewel like cherry tomatoes. Yet good old fashioned rhubarb provides some seriously dramatic foliage – like a hosta on steroids.
I have a large garden which means that I am often viewing foliage combinations from quite a distance. No subtle miniatures for me! When I say I need bold foliage I mean BOLD foliage – and rhubarb delivers. Certainly there are fabulous ornamental cultivars whose color may be rosier and leaves might be sharper, but when you need to fill up a big space on a small budget it’s hard to beat the simple edible variety.
Need more reasons to use it? Here’s a BIG plus – deer and rabbits ignore it which earns it major points in my garden and explains why I don’t need to enclose it within my fortified vegetable garden. (Slugs and unexpected hail storms can do damage but that goes for most leafy plants).
How to use it
As a focal point near a seating area or sculpture.
As a trail marker to indicate the start of a pathway
To balance the scale of a large container
To contrast with the finely cut foliage of plants such as astilbe and bugbane (Cimicifuga).
To provide a backdrop for smaller flowers
Let it go to seed to create a stunning rhubarb sculpture!
Or….just make pie.