Sunday, September 9, 2012
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.