27 Jul 2011

Fleur-tation!

Sweet PeasI've always loved the idea of weaving a few flowers through the veg patch, an idea that really took root after watching Alys Fowler in her Edible Garden on the BBC last year. I already had sunflowers, nasturtiums, calendula and flowering herbs but this year have truly succumbed to a more floriferous outlook by sowing a small patch of sweet peas. These (in the photo) are Spencer Mixed. I also have Old Spice which seem mostly to be either a deep wine colour or ballerina pink. Very pretty, a beautiful smell and, by picking often, the stems are encouraged to keep flowering.

I've enjoyed these so much that other flowers have crept in as well: Honeywort (which has yet to flower), Monarda, Honesty, primula, poppies and violas. Seeds of cornflowers, nigella and bergamot have been sown (possibly a bit late as they've been shaded by the courgettes). Just this week I planted a Rudbeckia into one of the walled borders (next to the lilies which no-one had the heart to dig up when the ivy went) and a plant-sale echinacea (cone-flower) went in next to beans.

My first love will always be for veg but I confess to a moment of heart-fluttering excitement on finding a Cowslip (primula veris) of RHS Merit provenance on the shelf at Morrisons for a mere £2! A bit of research reveals that the leaves are traditionally used in Spanish cooking as a salad green and the plant is also the main food of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. I live in hope.

Meanwhile, my fleur-ting with florals will continue as I'm currently reading Joy Larkcom's Creative Vegetable Garden which is chock full of horticultural happiness on every page.

:: flowers of golden oregano growing near to my sweet peas ::

7 comments:

  1. Nice to read such a floriferous post!
    I picked some of my sweet peas this morning! As you know I grow a 'few' flowers on my plot! Flighty xx

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  2. I adore those sweetpeas! Nothing to feel guilty about at all - they are important in the food garden for bees and pollinators. I have always aspired to a potager...

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  3. You already know my views on flowers and veg together, sweet peas are a natural choice, not so invasive as other companions either. Anything that brings bees and butterflies in has got to be good.

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  4. Beautiful sweet peas. And there is always the excuse of attracting more pollinators to the plot for planting more flowers, something I am a big fan of! I like the idea of a bargain echinacea snuggling up to the beans. Besides, you can always argue that the flowers are a crop in themselves, given the price - and airmiles - of flowers in the shops!

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  5. I don't think you'll have any problems with pollination having all those flowers about. It's only a few years ago that it was unheard of to be growing flowers with edibles, and there's still plenty of allotments where flowers can't be seen, but I think more and more people are coming round to the idea that it's good to mix the two.

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  6. I love sweet peas - they have the most beautiful smell. One of natures great joys!

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  7. Thank you for your comments everyone, it's genuinely appreciated!

    Flighty, I always like reading about the flowers that you grow and you've inspired me to introduce more flowers in to the veg patch!

    Camilla, I'm not sure that the veg patch is a potager yet but it's definitely something I aspire to!

    Elaine, I'm introducing more flowers for bees and butterflies this year and I'm drawing inspiration from your posts!

    Janet, thank you. And I take your point about the airmiles involved in transporting flowers, although I usually like to leave my flowers to grow outside where everyone can enjoy them!

    Jo, I have noticed an abundance of bees, hoverflies and ladybirds this year so the flowers must be doing good! Hope they're still here when the beans flower!

    Sue, I agree, sweet peas are a lovely flower and especially as they just keep on producing!

    Lovely to hear from you all,
    Caro xx

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Caro x

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