Eating flowers may raise eyebrows today, but history shows it's a centuries old culinary tradition. Today many people eat flowers without knowing it. Broccoli and cauliflower are undeveloped flower buds, Saffron comes from the stamen of the crocus flower. Many teas are made with roses, chamomile, and other flowers.
Edible flowers add flavor and color to your cooking. Some are even high in vitamins and nutrients. Below are a list of some of the most popular edible flowers.
Growing flowers in potted plants outside a kitchen door is easy and fun to do. Filling planter pots on a patio with edible flowers adds fragrance and character to your landscaping and decorating needs. You can use most different types of planters but the most healthiest to use would be terracotta. This type of clay pot is meant to breathe and helps to keep the plants root system healthy.
Borage: This annual grows 2 to 4 feet tall with purplish blue, star-shaped flowers. Sow seeds in a sunny spot in spring after last frost, or earlier in warm climates. Borage tolerates most soil types and usually reseeds itself. This flower adds a cucumber taste to salads, dips, and cold soups. Freeze flowers in ice cube trays to float in decorative drinks.
Calendula: also known as pot marigold, this annual was a favorite in medieval cooking pots. It grows up to 20" tall with attractive pale yellow to deep orange flowers. Sow seeds in a sunny spot and provide afternoon shade in hot temperatures. This flower has a slightly bitter taste. Add the petals to scrambled eggs, cheeses, poultry, and rice. Chop the leaves and petals in soups, salads, and stews.
Chamomile: Another annual that has tiny daisy like flowers that can be brewed in tea. Easily grown from seeds in spring, this plant grows up to 2 feet tall in full sun. Chamomile has a sweet apple flavor and fragrance make a delicious tea. Steep 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh flowers with a cup of boiled water for three minutes. Strain and serve.
Chives: This perennial grows up to 24" tall with pink and lavendar flowers that have flavored meals for centuries. It prefers full sun and moist soil. Chives grow well in sunny windows. Break apart chive florets to add mild onion flavor to dinner rolls, casseroles, eggs, potatoes, and herb butters.
Lavender: This perennial requires dry, good draining soil. It grows best in full sun. It's taste combines well with rosemary and thyme in chicken and lamb marinades. Add a teaspoon to sugar cookie and cake recipes.
Introduce edible flowers into your diet gradually. Eat only the petals on most edible flowers. Just before eating, remove interior flower parts such as the pistils and stamen. These can taste bitter, and the pollen can cause allergic reactions.
When cooking with flowers, match the favors to your recipes.
Here are instructions on how to plant an elegant and easy care container full of succulents that stand up to heat and drought.
It's so tough trying to keep planters watered during the summer months that planting them with drought tolerant plants makes that process much easier. This arrangement is perfect for sun-baked decks and patios. And it's pretty throughout the growing season - especially if you mix annuals and perennials for lots of color and interesting texture.
Start by selecting the planters that you wish to use for this arrangement. We recommend that you use a "High Fired" garden planter that is meant to hold up over time. This step will avoid having to re-pot your plants every year or so. The planters in the photographs shown are the Vietnamese High Fired Black Clay Low Bowls. Make sure whatever containers you do use have a drain hole.
Photo 1 - shows the bottom of each planter pot lined with landscape cloth. This helps to keep the potting soil from flowing out the drain hole and it still allows the water to drain off. As you can see a number of different sizeswere used. This helps with adding depth and character to the final display.
Photo 2 - Fill the planters with potting soil to about 2" inches from the rim of the pot. Set the nursery containers with plants where you want to plant them, on the soil so that you can see the arrangement in advance. Make sure you take into account that you will want some plants to droop over the sides of the pots. Gently remove the plants and place them in the soil. Water right after planting with a gentle sprinkle.
Photo 3 - As you can see from this photo, different sizes, shapes and styles make the arrangement of pots more interesting. The larger the planter the more variety of plants you can use. Make sure to keep them watered as their roots develop. Once established, these plants will last up to 2 weeks
We saw these great tips from Sunset Magazine on how to create a planter pot that will attract Hummingbirds and we thought we would pass it along. By Debra Prinzing, Photos by Ed Gohlich
It is really easy to pot a special type of plant that will attract certain birds, butterflies and other desired garden friends. This particular pot has 3 plants that attract hummingbirds. Fingertips (dudleya edulis), Sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) andJim Sage(salvia clevelandii). Each one of these can easily be found at your local nursery center.
Here are easy tips on how to plant them:
1. Use one or more pieces of broken pottery to cover the drain holes to prevent soil from seeping out but allows water to drain through.
2. Fill approximately one quarter to one third of the container with high quality potting soil. This helps for plant growth.
3. Arrange the plants listed above in the containers, placing the tallest plant toward the back. Add soil until it reaches 1/2" to 1" below the pots rim. Add decorative accents like driftwood, or seashells. Water thoroughly and watch them grow.
These nectar rich native plants are lovely and the hummingbirds love them. Give them a try and let us know how they worked out for you!
Wouldn't it be nice to have cilantro growing right outside your kitchen door in a lovely garden pot? Whenever you wanted to fix Mexican salsa or guacamole, or a Middle Eastern yogurt sauce for lamb kabobs, there the lacy, sweetly pungent leaves would be, ready to harvest.
But if you have ever tried to grow it, you have probably noticed that cilantro yields a fast crop; plants are barely up before they try to flower and set seeds. So those tasty leaves aren't around long, especially in warm weather.
To keep leaves coming, you can sow seeds every two weeks for a continuous crop. Or, even better, try the method we recommend. Grow cilantro as you would mesclun. Sow seeds thickly in a wide, shallow container or garden bowl then, as as plants are 3 to 4 inches tall and sporting a couple of cut able leaves, use scissors to cut off some foliage for cooking.
Shear from a different section of the containerever time, rotating the potas you go and never letting plants in any area mature. By the time you get back to the first section harvested, new leaves will have appeared. EASY!
Easy tips to follow:
1. Select a bowl shaped planter pot at least 18" wide and 8" to 10" deep. Obviously the larger the better for a nice supply.
2. Fill the pot with a fasting draining potting soil and mix in an organic fertilizer.
3. Before seeding, moisten the soil using a fine spray from the hose. Because the seeds are fairly small, mix them in a bowl with sand so they will disperse evenly and not clump together.
4. Gently mist the soil so as not to displace the seeds.
5. Place the container in full sun and the seeds should germinate in 7 to 10 days.
6. Harvest according to the instructions listed above. It is possible to harvest 4 crops from a single pot.
Here are a few tips on how to get the most from your potted planters!
A. If possible, place containerswithin reach of a hose. They are in a sunny location, water at least once a day during the hot summer months. This is the most important step when it comes to successful potted planters.
B. Assemble your planter pots where they will be displayed. That way, you won't have to move them from one end of your gardenor patio to the other. ARGHHHHHHH.....
C. Use a potting mix designed for containers. We know we keep harping on this one step but it is so important to successful and beautiful potted planters. Don't fill the pots with just regular garden soil or compost. Check the label for ingredients. The best mixes include lime to balance the PH, controlled release fertilizer and water retaining polymers.
D. Mulch the top of the containers with shredded bark, faux rocks, gravel or even small pine cones or seashells. It will dress up the pots and also reduce moisture loss.
E. When you select several different types of plants for one pot, make sure they all have the same sun and water requirements. This really does help to eliminate further problems.
F. Lastly, check the plants regularly to nip problems in the bud. If a plant or container is harboring pests or disease, remove it immediately.
These are basic steps but can easily be forgotten. Hope this helps!
Increase the impact of garden containers by gathering them together in clusters and groupings. It's easy and here are some tips.
Are you one of the hundreds of people who would like to add warmth and charm to your house, patio or deck areas, and do it for a small investment? Here's how:
Choose the right container for your pottery needs. Size, shape and color are all important and should be taken into consideration when deciding where to start. You don't want a conflicting color palette with the color of your home or patio cushions. When it comes to size make sure you scale where you intend to use them. A small 6" pot, placed on each side of a entry door won't make much of an impact, but place them together on a patio table and they make a lovely and functional display. Fill with herbs and create a herb garden with each pot holding a different type of plant.
Play the number game. Groups of containers look better in odd numbers such as 3, 5 or 7. But some truly compliment each other when placed in pairs. These look stunning on each side of a home entry and should look like twins when it comes to not only colors but types of plants used.
Bring home unity. Similar pots with similar colors help everything to appear unified and not all "willy-nilly". This doesn't mean identical but clusters that share a similar style but have different diameters and heights. We love it when you take all white planters and display them together. Make each one a different style, height and use different plant materials and you will still have a unified look that is outstanding.
Plants & colors are both vary important elements to consider. Choose plants that flower and add foliage to give your containers a balanced look. Try to make sure that their needs for air, water and fertilizer are similar for the most success. Concerning color, try to avoid the zoo effect where there are lots of individual specimens that don't go together. Try to keep your color theme cohesive and soothing.
Lastly, set the stage. Don't just use clustered containers outside. Place them inside your home as well. Place on steps, around elevation areas, where you want to draw attention to focal points. Hang them on bare walls, use them to conceal unsightly views, or soften empty corners. Vary the heights and you will find great "eye appeal and character.
In this blog entry we continue with the theme of "the best containerplants" by adding another 5 entries. Hope you enjoy these suggestions. Please let us know if you try any of these items. Thanks!
6.Phlox 'intensia Lilac Rose' can grow up to 12" tall and grows annually. It spreads vigorously so is a good choice for a pot or garden container. It's lightly fragrant flowers are lavender pink with a dark rose eye. Blooming from spring to fall, these flowers are stunning is large containers and footed urns. Give it full sun, it tolerates heat and humidity along with cooler weather.
7. Mandevilla sanderi 'MonProud' (strawberry lemonade) This is a thirst quencher with bright colors and hot flowers. A tropical vine that grows to up 8 feet long, this is a great addition for the sides of large planters where you want the vine to drape over the sides. They should look like they are spilling out of the pot with colors of green, cream, pink and white. It provides year round color when kept as a shrub. Give it moist well draining soil.
8.Scaevola 'Whirlwind Blue' is a sturdy fan flower with dainty looks. A wonderful annual that grows up to 12 inches long and add bursts of color to any type of planter. it can tolerate partial shade and like fertile moist soil. We love the flat petals that look like little umbrellas.
9.Vinca 'Merry-Go-Round' is a cheerful plant with tremendous color. Growing up to 24" inches this can be used in very large planter pots. It is one of the tallest, hardiest, and cheeriest of the vincas. It's blooms in luminous red, purple, and liac will surely brighten a terraceplanter. The jewel toned flowers spring from bushy, glossy dark leaves. Bring on the heat and sun and give it plenty of moist soil.
10.Oxalis tetraphylla 'Iron Cross' These shamrock shaped plants can stand alone or go lovely with a partner. Starting out as a bulb they grow to 9" tall and makes full compact clumps that look lovely alone in small pots. They also look great with added to larger color displays in biggerplanters. Plant them in partial sun with well draining soil and these are sure to please. Children think they are fun because of the Iron Cross shape with leaves supporting four lobes.
Well we hope you enjoyed this 2 part series on great plants for all kinds of containers. If you try any of them, please let us know. We love to hear all feedback you care to provide. Thanks!
Plants have different needs and they are based on many different things. Things like planting in the ground or into a garden pot. Their access to light, water and fertilizer are all major considerations when you want to assure gardening success.
Below is a list of favorite plant materials that thrive in a garden container. Some you may recoginize but many are fairly new and exciting to experiment with. Since we have so many to share we have divided this up into two blog post. Don't miss part 2 and then let us know what you think?
1.Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony' (shown above)these plants can stand a little night warmth. They are a annual that grows to 14" tall and is noted for it's prolific blooms and tolerance to extreme heat and light frost. The daisy like flowers feature a distinctive dark purple eye and halo.
2.Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' move this potted plant indoors for winter enjoyment. It is a tender perennial that grows to 24" tall so use a large container. It has lustrous, dark forest green leaves with contrasting undersides that are a rich violet purple. It loves full sun, well draining soil but you should move the container inside before the first frost.
3.Tropaeolum majust 'Creamsicle" A lovely nasturtium that offers a wonderful orangy treat. It truly looks like a swirled orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream with a sprinkling of red provided by throats that are etched in deep crimson. This annual cottage garden flower is easy to grow directly from seed and it thrives without extra care in full sun and well drained soil. Stunning in pottery!
4.Petunia 'Supertunia Royal Velvet' This sweet plant deadheads itself. It is a cute annual that grows up to 10" tall so great for all pot sizes. This vigorous, ever blooming trailer has large, velvety and sweetly fragrant purple flowers that attract butterflies & hummingbirds. They grow fast and self clean by shedding spent blossoms. We love this plant in window boxes, hanging baskets and patio pots where full sun and moist soil are available.
5.Cuphea cyanea These lovelies attract hummingbirds with their brightcolor and cigar flower shape. A tender perennial that grows to 15" tall, this plant is stunning. It blooms ceaselessly from spring until frost, producing hundreds of hummingbird attracting, inch long tubular blossoms. The flowers are bright pink, tipped with yellow and topped with tiny purple petals that look like little ears. Use this plant to soften container edges or to fill space around plants of bolder texture.
Read more suggestions in "The Best Container Plants - Part 2"
When you grow such robust plants in your garden soil, it would lead you to believe that you could use the same soil with success in your potted planters! Unfortunately that just isn't the case.
Garden soil doesn't offer enough air, water or nutrients to a plant growing in a garden pot to assure success. Potting soils used in planters are a special mix that can overcome these situations. It is so important that the soil provide the root systems of your plants and flowers with access to air so that water can drain away from them and not pool on the bottom of the planter, despite drain holes. The more compact the soil the less water will drain off. The the ultimate problem will exist: root rot!
By adding loose fill like perlite, and sand to garden soil it helps to keep the soil from clumping and forming hard clots. The simpliest way to get the right mix is to purchase potting soil from your local garden center that will contain the right amount of ingredients. But, if you want to mix your own we have a basic formula that works. This step is so important for great pottery growth.
Mix 2 gallons of each:
Peat moss, perlite, garden soil
Add 1/2 cup of each:
Dolomite, green sand, kelp powder or rock phosphate.
Sift the garden soil and peat moss to remove clumps. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix with hands or shovel.
What you are looking for basically, is a positive environment for the plants root system so that you grow the most healthy plants and flowers possible. Keep the soil in the planters loose and crumbly. Once it gets packed down at the end of the season you need to re-sift it or replace it. The health of your garden depends on it.