I like to visit gardens. One thing I’ve noticed, especially in ‘historic’ gardens like the ones found in Colonial Williamsburg or Monticello are annual flowers planted among the vegetables. So, I borrowed the idea for my vegetable garden. Cosmos, nasturtium, sunflowers, zinnia and marigolds are my favorites. The colors are bright and inviting and viewed from my kitchen window, well as soon as I see them blooming, I grab my camera and out I go. They also serve a variety of purposes. The taller varieties like cosmos and sunflowers help to shade plants that prefer cooler temperatures, like salad greens and carrots. Marigolds supposedly keep rabbits and some insects away. I usually plant these around the base of my tomato plants. Nasturtiums are not only beautiful, but they are edible. Sprinkle the blooms on top of a salad for color and a peppery bite. Zinnias are an old-fashioned favorite. I love the bright colors and compact blooms and they make great cut flowers to put in a vase. One other benefit is that all these flowers attract bees, which help to pollinate all of the plants in the garden. There are days when I walk out to my garden and I can hear the hum of bees from half way across the yard. They are especially attracted to the sunflowers. So, beauty, benefits and color–try some flowers in the vegetable garden.