The Dixon's newest garden proves that edible plants are as pretty as they are delicious. Assignment #198 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to check out the edible garden.
Director of Horticulture Dale Skaggs and his staff have been working on the edible garden since last fall, growing and caring for its more than 5,000 plants. The goal was to use edible plants in the same way that decorative plants would be used to show people that food-producting foliage could fit just as well in a front yard as shrubs and flowers do.
Smaller varieties of most of the plants were chosen for aesthetic reasons, so you won't see any giant watermelons or fruit trees. You will see bright red and orange chili peppers, tomatoes, miniature eggplants, sunflowers, herbs and tiny peach trees. Most of the plants are in bloom now and will produce fruit well into the fall.
Unfortunately, you can't really eat anything from the edible garden. Right now, most of the ripe produce is going home with the Dixon staff, but it would be cool to see them do some kind of dinner featuring their yield or a small market or tastings on busy days.
The Dixon is open Tuesday – Sunday, and the gardens are included in the admission price ($7 for adults). Tuesday is pay-what-you-can day and admission is free on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon.