Tag Archives: flowers

8 Reasons to Grow Edible Flowers

As most of the garden is put to bed for the season and the new catalogs are coming out it’s time to start planning for spring. Deciding on which varieties to select is always a tough choice. But whether you enjoy cottage style gardens or more “market style” gardens with tidy rows you should include a few edible flowers on your list.

They’ll help you avoid food dyes. 

Edible flowers are perfect for dressing up baked goods without using processed food dyes and preservatives. Any cake or cupcake will look just as instagram worthy with bachelor’s buttons petals instead of blue frosting.

You can make your own medicine.

Many edible flowers are also helpful medicinal herbs. This year add some echinacea, feverfew, or chamomile to your garden to create helpful herbal teas. Try growing a patch of calendula to concoct your own skin soothing lotions and balms.

Birds will enjoy your flowers too.

Many birds will enjoy the seeds from sunflowers, coneflowers, poppies and other flowers once they’ve finished blooming. If you love seeing birds in your yard they’re a great way to attract them without hanging a bird feeder.

They do double duty in a garden space.

If you’ve got a small garden you want to maximize every square foot. Growing edible flowers brings you beauty and a harvest for your table. Nasturtiums are a great choice because they can be trellised to save space and their leaves and flowers are excellent for salads. Though most people just enjoy the seeds, sunflowers are actually entirely edible and can be used as a trellis for runner beans.

You can make cute cocktails.

Edible flowers are an excellent way to make cocktails or even just an iced tea or lemonade feel extra special for your next summer gathering. Small flowers like Johnny-Jump-Ups are perfect for freezing into ice cubes. Edible flowers also make awesome garnishes especially paired with fresh herbs.

They’re perfect for homemade candy recipes.

Candied flowers and flower petals were a sweet treat long before the advent of modern candy brands. They’re also easy to make and beautiful. You can also try using flower petals in lollipop, hard candy, or even popsicle recipes.

Flowers attract beneficial insects.

One recent study showed that having flower strips planted in croplands can decrease the amount of insect damage to crops. This is because they attract beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs which feed on harmful pests like aphids. While this obviously doesn’t just apply to edible flowers it is another one of their many qualities. Adding a few patches may help make your whole garden more productive.

Flowers attract pollinators.

Obviously, flowers are also a great way to attract pollinators such as bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other species. Having a patch of edible flowers benefits both you and local wildlife!

Growing and using edible flowers is a lot of fun! To find more information on edible flowers we carry visit our old post, 12 Edible & Medicinal Flowers to Add to Your Garden.

12 Flowers to Plant in Summer

Powder Puff Mixed Colors Asters – 85 days

For many of us modern gardeners spring flies by in a blur. With all of our other commitments some of our best spring garden intentions go out the window. When summer rolls around it’s easy to regret not planting more flowers especially if you visit other gardens with plentiful blooms. Thankfully there’s still a variety of flowers that can be sown in the summer and bring beauty to your garden.

Asters

A good choice for later plantings, asters bloom in just 85 days and can be direct sown. They germinate best with soil temperatures around 70°F and make excellent cut flowers.

Coreopsis

Blooming in 83 days coreopsis is a gorgeous summer flower that can also be used to make natural dyes. It germinates in temperatures between 55°-70°F. Planting coreopsis will help with next year’s garden too because it self sows readily.

Cosmos

Cosmos come in a wide range of colors and are easy to grow. they germinate best in 70°F soil and bloom in just 45-65 days depending on the variety.

Hyacinth Bean

Despite being a bean, hyacinth is purely ornamental and is actually poisonous if consumed. It’s a large climbing bean that can grow up to 10-20 ft depending on the conditions. It produces beautiful pink-purple flowers and should be sown a month after your last frost.

Johnny Jump-Ups

These cute little flowers also called violas, are easy to grow in the summer and are edible! They can be direct sown when soil temperatures are around 70°F.

Marigolds

Signet Marigold, Lemon Gem – 59 days

Depending on the variety you choose you can have marigolds blooming in your garden in as little as 55 days. While many people start them indoors early in the spring they can be direct sown after soils warm up.

Morning Glories

These lovely vining flowers can be direct sown and bloom in about 65 days. Before planting be sure to soak the seeds for 2 days, changing the water every 12 hours.

Nasturtiums

Another edible flower nasturtiums make a wonderful addition to any summer garden. They can be direct sown.

Phlox

Phlox will provide you with blooms well into the fall, with flowers surviving temperatures down to 20°F. It matures in just 80 days and is an good candidate for summer direct seeding.

Rudbeckia

Sometimes called Black-Eyed Susan, rudbeckia is great for gardeners without a lot of time. It’s a very hardy perennial and self sows and spreads readily.

Tithonia

Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) is a very heat hardy flower and can be direct seeded in soil temperatures up to 86°F. It can grow to 5 feet tall and is excellent for attracting butterflies to your garden.

Sunflowers

Super easy to grow sunflowers are a popular choice for many gardeners. They stand up to summertime heat well and depending on the variety can bloom in as little as 53 days.

With the proper varieties you can create a late summer or fall garden that looks just as lovely as a spring flower garden. While many people only really get into gardening in the early summer continuing your garden throughout the year is an easy way to get more enjoyment and time out of it. For more tips on late season planting check out these posts.

Planning and Planting for an Abundant Fall and Winter Harvest

Succession Planting Warm-Season Crops for Hot Summers

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12 Edible & Medicinal Flowers to Add to Your Garden

Early in my gardening career I made the decision that I wasn’t going to “waste space” in my meager garden on flowers. Foolishly I thought that all they were good for was looking pretty. Slightly older and wiser me knows that flowers are for so much more than looks. Flowers are key to a productive garden. Some varieties are loved by pollinators, others draw in beneficial insects, and some even help repel unwanted pests! 

However if you’re a super practical gardener with some serious space restrictions you can get even more benefits out of your flower plantings. These varieties of flowers provide all the typical advantages and are either edible or medicinal. 

Edible Flowers

Sunflowers

Short Stuff Sunflowers

While sunflower seeds are an obvious edible benefit to growing sunflowers few people know that most of the plant can be eaten at different stages. Sunflower sprouts and very young plants are wonderful tossed into salads. The petals are a bit bitter but can also be used sparingly in salads. Young stalks can be peeled and used like celery, the leaves can be cooked like greens, and the unopened buds can be used like artichokes.

Bachelor’s Buttons

Polka Dot Bachelor’s Buttons

Bachelor’s buttons are a great way to add a lot of beauty to any dish. They can be eaten fresh in salads or used as a garnish. They’ve even been used to adorn cakes. They also hold their color well when dried and make an excellent natural food dye.

Breadseed Poppys

Hungarian Blue Breadseed Poppys

The only part of this flower that’s edible is the seeds. Breadseed poppy pods are filled with poppy seeds that are great for baking. If you love lemon poppy seed muffins this might be the right flower for you!

Johnny-Jump-Ups

Helen Mt. Johnny-Jump-Ups

Like bachelor’s buttons, johnny-jump-ups make a tasty addition to salads or add a touch of natural beauty as a garnish. They can have a mild wintergreen flavor.

Hollyhocks

Outhouse Hollyhocks

This one usually surprises people but hollyhocks are entirely edible! The roots, leaves, and flowers can all be eaten though it’s typically just the young leaves and flowers that are eaten fresh. They’re actually related to the mallow plant and the entire plant has a variety of medicinal uses.

Nasturtiums

Jewel Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are hard not to love. Their bright orange flowers and lilly pad like leaves add a bit of charm to even the most organized vegetable garden. They’re also delicious and the flowers and leaves make wonderful salads.

Medicinal Flowers

Echinacea

Echinacea Purpurea

Echinacea is a beautiful perennial flower and a potent medicinal. It’s frequently used to strengthen the immune system.

Chamomile

German Chamomile

A lovely little flower that makes a wonderfully relaxing tea, chamomile really deserves a spot in every garden. It’s easy to grow and easy to use. It has an apple-like flavor and fragrance and is also anit-innflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-spasmodic.

Feverfew

Though it looks much like chamomile, feverfew is a seperate medicinal herb and as the name suggests has long been used to treat fevers. More recently a study published in the British medical journal Lancet reported that 2-3 fresh leaves of feverfew eaten daily over a period of time reduced the severity and frequency of migraines.

Calendula

Resina Calendula

Another powerful medicinal, calendula is frequently used in salves and lotion to help heal skin irritations. However it also makes a tasty tea and has anti-innflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Bergamot

Wild Bergamot

Bergamot is often used to make tea and was used by several Native American tribes as a carminative. It’s also a favorite of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies making it definitely worth adding to your garden.

Lavender

English Munstead Lavender

Generally thought of as a calming medicinal herb (try making some tea) lavender is also a tasty culinary herb. It can be used to flavor beverages, breads, cookies and more. 

If your space and time are limited it can be really important to get the most out of every square in of garden space. Thankfully there’s no reason to give up the beauty of flowers to do that. These varieties can help you grow a productive garden by providing you with food, medicine, and food for pollinators and beneficial insects as well.

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