Posted: 23/02/2012 at 19:06
Crimson flowered broad beans are great - not heavy croppers and don't like too much shade, but in a north facing garden, in a mixed border, they did pretty well last year and the flowers are lovely.
Agree with Smauel and Pink Heather about Sorrel - try blood veined sorrel too as its foliage is really attractive. Also, lettuces as alternatives to all that weird yellowy heuchera plant - at least you can eat lettuces and can get some really pretty ones like green or red salad bowl. Red mustard is also a nice salad crops with pretty leaves.
I grow a lot of globe artichokes in my garden too - they are supposed to want a lot of sunshine, but they seem to do OK in my north facing plot where they get some sunshine, seem to come back happily each year, but are now getting ready for replacing. They do much better than cardoons and I think they are nicer looking too - more dramatic foliage. They are architectural, growing so tall, and left to stand over the winter, the flower heads look spectacular when covered with frost. Edible, ornamental, add height to your border.... what more could you ask for?