Flower, food garden grows at Millennium Park

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Food and flowers grow in gardens at popular Millennium Park. (WLS)

Flowers are for beauty and veggies are for eating and never the twain shall meet. That is, until this summer's newest addition in Millennium Park.


"We decided to plant food with flowers," said Christy Webber, landscape contractor for Millennium Park. "It's called permaculture."

Webber's idea was to bring together the edible and incredible: veggies, herbs and flowers all in one garden. It began in February in a Garfield Park greenhouse with high school students planting the seeds.

"In Garfield Park we're in a food desert and we thought it was important for kids to learn to grow food in order for them to eat," said Angela Taylor of the Garfield Park Community Gardens.

The harvest is just beginning and in a few weeks it will be in full swing. Produce will be donated to nonprofits. For tourists, it's a surprise and they're taking notice.

"Iowans walk by and say, 'Hey, lady, there's corn in this garden,'" said Webber. "They never thought it could be beautiful."

Conventional wisdom says that flowers and vegetables don't mix, but that's wrong. In fact, they're great companions.

"It works because it brings in the bees, the butterflies and other insects," said Anna Marie Leon, a permaculture expert, "And the insects then crawl onto the flowers. They crawl onto the potato plants and crawl onto the corn and they cross-pollinate."

Now The Bean isn't the only veggie in Millennium Park.


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