Alpine strawberries are better behaved than their traditional counterparts. They do not send runners all over the place but grow as neat little mounds instead. They blossom and bear a large flush of fruit in the spring and continue to repeat blossoming and fruiting throughout the growing season. The plants make a tidy edging plant for flower beds. Kids love picking these tiny treasures; even though the berries are small they pack a lot of flavor. Take a morning walk with bowl in hand and collect some for your breakfast cereal, if the kids haven't already eaten them all.
A Feast for the Eyes
You can sneak some vegetables into the flower border as well. 'Bright Lights' or 'Rainbow' chard have beautiful yellow, gold, and red stalks and veins; red-leaved, bronze, or freckled lettuces such as 'Lollo Rossa', 'Bronze Arrowhead', and 'Flashy Troutback' are very attractive plants; and 'Red Russian' kale has blue-green leaves with red veins and edges. All add interesting foliage colors and textures to the garden.
If climbing vines are needed to act as a screen or cover an arbor, try kiwi or grapes. They may take a few years to reach fruiting size but it will be worth the wait. If you want a quick cover, pole beans will do the job, giving you flowers to enjoy and awesome beans for dinner. For extra color try yellow 'Golden Gate', speckled 'Rattlesnake', or purple Italian heirloom bean 'Trionfo Violetto'.
You get the idea. It is okay to mix things up. Vegetables look great planted among the ornamentals and need not be banished to the back yard. Think edibles to make your landscape productive and pretty.