I mentioned a while back that I was going to include more flowers in my garden this season as I want to attract more insects to the vegetable garden. This may seem a little counterproductive to pest control but I hope it will indeed do just that - control pests.
The other reasons are to promote pollination by giving the bees and butterflies lots of good food and for beauty. I may be strange but I do find vegetable and herb flowers beautiful. Not a well tended rose garden beautiful, but as I walk through all the green foliage I see little bursts of colour here and there as some of the herbs begin to flower I marvel at the different colours, shapes and purposes.
Calendula, seen above, is such a gorgeous flower that I have planted for the last few years. They are edible flowers, bees love the dark center landing pad and I collect the petals for my soap making. I have normally planted a ring of them around the pond, but this year I gave them the circular bed at the pool below the fig tree. They have grown prolifically here and are a huge burst of colour in our rather drab back yard.
Most of my borage has died down now and has been added to the compost heap. It will self seed all over the garden, I even see some leaves popping up from the last addition of compost to the beds. Most of it I pull out quite small, a few will be left to grow to flower stage. The flowers can be eaten in salads or on cheesecakes and they have a light cucumber taste. I have been told that you can also scrape the prickles of the leaves and slice them into fritters, but have not tried that yet!
A lot of the flowers around the garden are simply because they have been left to go to seed. My coriander is about to do that and I will soon have the delicate white flowers to enjoy and eventually seeds for sowing and cooking.
It is the same with the dill below. We use very limited amounts of fresh dill in our cooking. But I love the blooms and we can save the seeds for recipes later in the year. Dill has the most beautiful delicate leaves which we chop finely into yoghurt when eating Greek dishes. We don't eat much fish due to our boys being allergic, but when we do having fresh dill is a winner.
Nasturtiums seed themselves all over the garden in late winter and he flower has always been one of my favourite. I normally have a few small vases of them scattered around the home. They are also a spicy addition to salads and the leaves are used in juices every now and again. We have little black beetles that like to bury themselves head down into their narrow throats and gulp up the nectar.
Nasturtiums are a wonderful way to protect brassicas from the white cabbage moth as these girls will lay their eggs on the undersides of the nasturtium leaves and their little caterpillars will munch away happily.
I also have loads of sage growing in a few places. The flowers are not the most astounding but sage leaves are superb with pork. Sage is also a great companion to carrots so my son planted some with his carrots in his square foot garden.
I also collect the sage leaves and use it in a sage and lemon grass soap which is one of my favourite bars.
Besides for the herb flowers I have also planted sunflowers around the pond. Its a little later than normal, but each year these tall beauties reach up around the pond and show off their faces to the sun. This is what the will look like in summer:
Do you grow flowers specifically in your garden?