As beautiful on a plate as they are in a garden. I grow many varieties of edible flowers for my Summer salads. I even made use of them on my Floral Focaccia bread. Not just for show! each has their own flavour that compliments your dish.
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Centaurea cyanus otherwise known as the Cornflower is an annual flower that comes in a variety of colours, quite a tall flower, they can grow up to 35 Inches in height . It earned its name due to the fact it was often found growing in wheat and corn fields.
They have a mildly sweet, spicy flavour. I eat them whole or pull the petals from the flower and scatter on top of my salads.
How to grow Cornflowers
Sow direct early-mid Spring. Rake the ground to a fine tilth (so the soil is crumbly). Then make some drills, scatter the seeds & lightly cover with soil. Though Cornflowers are annuals, they reliably self seed giving you beautiful blooms year after year
Borago officinalis otherwise known as Borage or Star flower is an annual herb often found in informal cottage gardens and vegetable gardens. Borage repels pests but attracts pollinators, I dot mine all over my Vegetable patch, it is a particularly good companion plant for Tomatoes, I find it not only shields them from pests but improves their flavour too.
Borage can grow up to 2ft tall and is a very hairy plant! I like to wear my gloves when picking the flowers. Borage flowers are mildly salty with a subtle Cucumber flavour.
How to grow Borage
To sow direct, sow Borage seeds 1/4 inch deep mid Spring to late Spring where they are to grow. I like to sow in modules indoors early spring, then plant out when risk of frost has passed. Borage will produce the most flowers when it is in a full sun position, but they will tolerate partial shade. Borage is an annual but will self seed if not deadheaded.
Calendula officinalis otherwise Known as Calendula or Pot Marigold are bright Orange or sunny yellow flowers, the bees love them! They Grow 12-18 inches tall. Frequent dead heading keep the blooms coming for months! I grow mine in the Growhouse to attract lots of pollinators and as a sacrificial plant for the slugs.
Calendula have a slightly bitter, peppery flavour. I tend to remove the petals from the flower and scatter on salads or soup.
How to grow Calendula
Calendula is fairly fuss free and grows easily from seed. Direct sow early Spring in a full sun or partially shaded spot. Or start off indoors in modules, early spring, plant out after risk of frost has passed. Calendula reliably self seed, giving you blooms year after year.
Matricaria chamomilla otherwise known as Chamomile is a staple in my garden. I have grown 2 types of Chamomile in the past, Roman and German. My favourite is German Chamomile. It is the taller of the two and has a milder flavour. Chamomile with their daisy like flowers can grow as tall as 2ft, and they smell amazing! They have a lovely sweet Apple scent, especially pronounced after rainfall. It has become my favourite Summer Scent.
When added to salads or tea, they have a mild sweet honey flavour with a subtle note of Apple.
How to Grow Chamomile
I like to surface sow in modules, indoors on a sunny windowsill, early spring, then divide each module and plant out after risk of frost has passed, see below.
Nasturtiums, is there a vegetable garden without them? I love Nasturtiums, I love how they spread along the ground cuddling all the vegetables and plants around them. They are the protectors and guardians of the vegetable garden! They deter pests such as aphids and white fly and can even improve the flavour of the neighbouring vegetables. I grow mine alongside Squash, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Pumpkins, I even popped some amongst the cabbage patch.
Nasturtium flowers and leaves have a sweet peppery flavour similar to Radish, I eat them whole or tear and scatter them on salads.
How to Grow Nasturtiums
Sow direct where they are to grow March-May. They prefer a full sun position. Water regularly, and remove faded flowers to prolong blooming.
Taraxacum officinale or the humble Dandelion, has divided opinion for Decades…weed? or Flower? I call it food! The whole plant is edible, from root to that gorgeous sunshiny flower. I have added the petals to Omelettes, Risottos and salads and the roots to tea.
The petals and leaves have a similar taste to Spinach, kind of tangy and ever so slightly bitter in flavour.
How to grow Dandelions
Dandelions can be sown direct 4-6 weeks before the first spring frost. But be warned, they will readily self seed if not dead headed, usually popping up in places you don’t want them too! If you would prefer not to grow them, you can always forage for them, but be sure to pick from an area you know is free from pesticides.
The happiest flower in the garden! Sunflowers always bring a smile to my face. I have lost count of the Varieties I have grown over the years, each one unique, each one beautiful!
All varieties of Sunflower are edible, the petals have a bittersweet taste and the seeds can be Scattered on salads, porridge, in stir fry’s, baked into bread, even added to veggie burgers, so many possibilities.
How to Grow Sunflowers
Sunflowers need 6-8 hours of direct sun everyday to thrive. Direct sow in spring, in a weed free bed or start off indoors on a sunny windowsill and plant out once risk of frost has passed.
How beautiful are chive flowers. These gorgeous light purple blossoms have a mild onion flavour and are delicious scattered on salads. Or try my Chive Blossom Vinegar for a summery salad dressing.
How to grow Chives
Sow Chive seeds indoors on a sunny windowsill, early Spring. Plant out in a full sun or partially shaded spot after risk of frost has passed. Once established, to keep your chives looking their best, harvest often.