If you’ve been reading my ramblings for the past year or so, you may have noticed a pattern when it comes to me and gardening – I’m all about what’s edible. It’s often surprising to others that I have a decided love of food; that is, food that is wholesome, delicious, thoughtful, and well-presented (I’m still working on the last part). But it’s impossible to go anywhere in Austria without noticing the bounty of flowers. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE – in windowboxes, on balconies, lining bridges, growing alongside the Autobahn, in offices, and of course, in gardens!
Now, I’m all about what’s edible. Still, I’m feminine and this eye-candy that so profusely adorns my new country (like jewels on a well-dressed lady) has caused me to develop a bit of Neid (envy). So I thought to myself, ‘Well, a bit of color won’t rob you of precious planting space; plus they have those edible flowers – those would have a duel purpose in your garden.’ So off I went searching.
I haven’t found edible flowers as yet – and when I do, you’ll be amongst the first to know! But upon being gifted my first flowering shrub, the Fuchsia, I have managed to add a bit of color to the garden while waiting for my harvest to come in.
The first of my collection was actually a house-warming gift from a friend. The Fuchsia requires shading from the hot sun but provides the most beautiful deep purple flowers surrounded by bright pink sepals. They’re supposed to be very attractive to butterflies.
The blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) was a part of a blue/white flower mix that I picked up. It’s actually one of the few flowers that have a truly blue shade.
I got really excited to see that my mix also included the Morning Glory as I was always fascinated with it as a child growing up singing the hymn in church. To be exact, this version is called the Royal Ensign Bush Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor). Finding out that it was a cousin of the sweet potato plant only made me love it more!
Identifying this flower took a little while but I finally learned that it is a Nigella Persian Violet (Nigella damascena), also known as Love In A Mist. This flower led me to learn about the importance of deadheading as, what I’d assumed were unopened sepals, were actually seed pods. Who wouldn’t want more of this delicate beauty to bloom?! So off came the pods!
The white flower of the mix – the Forget-Me-Not (Boraginaceae).
So far, I’ve not been able to identify this flower from the mix. If you know this bloom, I’d love to hear from you!
The Summer Splash Marigolds, also known as Calendula (Tagetes patula x erecta), was my most recent purchase, as the clay pots on the wall were not removable and the Buchsbaum that sat in them had died. I got these because they’re supposed to keep stinging summer bugs at bay.
I could smell this English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) before I even found it in the garden center. It’s sweet, engulfing scent welcomes me to the terrace everytime I step outside. I can’t understand how bugs don’t like it, but it’s supposed to be a deterient as well.
As I mentioned, it smells so good that I had to bring it inside. Every week, I do a bit of deadheading and my reward is a small bouquet. I’m thinking of drying a whole bunch as summer gives way to fall, so that I can enjoy the scent during the winter.
Adding flowers, and learning about their upkeep, has added a nugget of understanding about my veggie garden. Basic fact that just hit me: plants produce fruit and flowers to spread seeds, not for my enjoyment! I came upon this gem as I was trying to discover how to get more flowers from my waning bed. Turns out, I have to ‘deadhead’ them (trim the dead flowers) when the blooms fade or they’ll go to seed and not produce more flowers. If I snip the dead flowers off, the plant will produce more because it’s ultimate goal is to deposit seeds. Interesting!
I’ve had a bit of fun identifying the flowers I have, their latin names, and uses; still there’s one that eludes me – came in the mix I purchased. Click on the photos for a closer look and if you know the name of the tiny purple beauty, don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks!