Twelve years ago when we moved into this house, a friend gave me some half packets of flower seeds she didn't want any more. I swear every seed came up, and for years I had garden beds full of continually self-seeding cosmos, calendula and love-in-a-mist, due to the generosity of a friend and the universe. The cosmos got a bit jungly after a few years and I pulled it all out, but the calendula and love-in-a-mist comes back faithfully year after year, even though I pull most of it out after flowering. It pops up in the gravel paths, between paving, all through all the garden beds. I can't quite understand why the whole earth isn't carpeted with calendula. I've been picking and drying it for a week now, and I have a jar full of dried sunshine, with no noticeable dent in the number of flowers in the garden. When the children were little I would make an infusion of calendula flowers in my fat blue teapot whenever they had sticky, weepy eyes with a cold. Bathing their eyes with calendula tea always fixed them up right away. It will take a while to organise the other ingredients I want to make my calendula tea, so I am going to use my dried calendula to make an infused oil. I'm hoping it will be helpful for family members with eczema, also I'd like a moisturiser for summer for my ageing skin!
The love-in-a-mist turns out to be useful too. I discovered that though it is not nigella sativa (black cumin seed), it is nigella damascena, very similar, and also edible, more nutmeg-like, so I collect the seed and use it in naan bread. It is also the most wonderful Arabian-nights bejewelled slipper-like flower, in every colour of blue imaginable.
I love my self-seeding garden. Pretty and useful. And plants itself.
Tired, but determinedly cheerful mother of four. One grown up son (The Boy), one grown up daughter (The Girl), two girls at home, Rosy (16) and Posy (11). Trying to buy a little less, make a little more, live a little lighter, not mess up the children too much..