While fruit and vegetable gardens are beautiful in their own right, I’d gild the edible lily and cram a few flowers in there too! Interesting combinations of flowers and edibles will make the most of our spaces and surprise our visitors.

There’s a lovely riotous cottgreen white cabbage chequerage garden feel to a mixed flower and veg garden. Tuck a rainbow chard in the herbaceous border for a flash of bright red stem and crinkled burgundy foliage. Swap the cardoon for the globe artichoke to get two for one: a wonderful architectural shape and a tasty starter.

There are also proven health, ecological and productivity reasons for mixing it up. Certain hero flowers and plants will discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies. This ‘companion planting’ taps into nature’s own holistic balancing act.

Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects, and to encourage lovely pollinating bees, plant lavender or Nepeta (catmint). Whereas Artemesia works twice as hard, attracting ladybirds while repelling most of the bad bugs.

Growing french marigolds wlavender bee ith aubergines, tomatoes, and peppers works a treat, as aphids avoid them, while hoverflies (their predators) Рlove them. Dahlias and chrysanthemums  (C. coccineum) kill bad root nematodes, with chrysanths actually having been used as pesticides for centuries.

Nasturtium attract caterpillars even more than our tasty lettuce and cabbages do, meaning their hatched young will grow up nibbling on their leaves and not ours.

Planting as a diversion to your dinner is called ‘trap cropping’. Even better, brassicas are big calcium users, whereas nasturtiums need very little.

Some companions more actively assist your veg. Planting basil with tomatoes, peppers or asparagus, for example, adds to their taste and even encourages growth. cabbages and flowers Chelsea '09

Comfrey is a bit of an all-round superstar, trapping calcium, phosphorous and potassium, waylaying slugs and activating compost. It also makes a good cuppa.

And finally, as good companions can offer you an arm or a shoulder to lean on, strong climbers and upright plants can be used as attractive, living beanpoles for beans. The beans in turn help the living trellis plants by drawing enriching nitrogen into the soil. Avoid planting alliums near beans though; they don’t get on.

This veg and herb planting combination table is a great resource for getting into some passionate veggie match-making!

Below are some great examples of mixed planting at the Chelsea Flower Show. The first is Marcus Barnett’s border featuring fennel and wildlife-attracting flowers, the second a reinterpretation of the classic kitchen garden by Bunny Guinness. (The links take you to their planting plans and a video of the gardens on the RHS site.)