The best of gardening luck to you!

Houseleeks grown on the roof ensure you will never be short of money.

Houseleeks grown on the roof ensure you will never be short of money.

Even the best gardener needs a bit of luck sometimes. So we lesser mortals who sometimes struggle to keep our favourite plants alive might do well to consider some of the practises of early gardeners. In ancient times every care was taken to make sure no evil would enter the garden. Gardens in those days were also much more practical, as they often supplied all the the essential food and the cures so it was important that they were productive. If your garden failed you might well starve. Many herbs were supposed to repel devils and witches but the Romans went a step further and would “place the skull of a mare or she-ass that hath been covered” and they believed that this would ensure that their gardens were fruitful. It is still possible to see a carved horses head over a gateway into old gardens today. Read more

Edible flowers

Text and photos by Penny Woodward

Delicious edible flowers

A beautiful and delicious flower salad

With gardens full of flowers for spring, why not consider eating some of them! Flowers have been used to decorate and scent the home for thousands of years. And for almost as long, flowers have also been used to flavour and decorate food. In Eastern and Middle-Eastern cultures, flowers and their essences are found in everyday food. Pastry and ice cream flavoured with ‘eau de rose’; tea redolent of jasmine; day lillies, peonies, rose and orange blossoms all used in a range of dishes; chrysanthemums in soup or fried in batter; tiger lily and saffron crocus stamens for added colour and flavour. And in Mediterranean countries squash flower fritters are a summer delicacy. Read more

Tree marigold

Golden yellow flowers and deliciously scented leaves.

The tree marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) is also known as mountain marigold, Mexican bush marigold and tangarine marigold. It is a delightful, vigorous, tough plant that grows as a sprawling large bush or small tree to 1.5m with narrow, segemented light green leaves that smell like lemon, mint and tangarine combined. Flowers are bright golden yellow and appear in autumn and winter providing bright splashes of colour for many months.

Grow new plants from seed planted in spring or by taking cuttings in spring or autumn. Tree marigold will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained and it likes a sunny but sheltered position. I’ve found that it needs very little water so it’s a great candidate for that hard to reach spot where it won’t get much attention and where you might regularly forget to water. Cut it back every now and then to promote flower growth and keep the bush from becoming too straggly.

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  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2018.
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