Sunday, September 9, 2012

Contemplating Calendula



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.

6 comments:

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I love a self-seeding garden, too--most of the time. Sometimes I have things come back that I wasn't all that crazy about in the first place! Right now my garden has gone completely wild. I spent some time yesterday weeding and should probably go out again now, but am feeling like I might take a nap instead.

frances

Jo said...

Naps are very important.

e / dig in said...

I love self-seeding too. i come from a family of seed collectors!

GretchenJoanna said...

The self-seeding in my garden goes in spurts, a few years at a time. Calendulas do seem to be perpetual, but then they disappear for a while. Forget-me-nots keep coming up all over, for ten years, and then -- they don't. It must have to do with the winter rains. Mullein is the one plant that always spreads and never quits. I love the description of your garden!

Jo said...

e, I have so many seeds I am trying to use up, but I keep collecting more. It is a disease! Gretchen Joanna, If I didn't weed them out, my entire garden would be calendula, nigella and forget-me-nots! Sounds like I had better not get a mullein plant. It would only take one...

johndaddy said...

Calendula Arvensis? Comments. ... Also, a fluid extraction, or the succus, from the flower itself can be used to irrigate wounds,
Calendula Succus Benefits

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