Autumn is the time to sow some hardy edible flowers…..
You may not realise it but many annual edible flowers can be sown in August and September for an early crop of flowers next spring. If you sow them in the autumn you can be enjoying your beautiful edible flowers from next spring. Why not try out some of these..
Cornflowers – I absolutely LOVE cornflowers and we are growing loads this year. They are on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list, incredibly easy to grow and beautiful to look at, as well as being fantastic edible flowers. Cornflowers have loads of uses in food and drinks, the simplest being to scatter the petals over food for decoration, but they can also be used to make floral teas, a natural food colouring, to decorate cakes or make floral sugars and syrups. Cornflowers come in a range of colours, and we currently have three to choose from:- blue, black or red.
Calendula – a popular edible flower and one which is very easy to grow. Calendula are beautiful, bright cheery edible flowers suitable for any size garden. We presently have three varieties on offer, Fiesta Gitana which produces a lovely mix of yellow and orange flowers, Bon Bon Calendula which flower early in the year, and Calypso.
Cowslip – Cowslips have a beautifully mild sweet flavour, reminiscent of honey. Cowslips have tall stems, with clusters of delicate yellow flowers. They have been enjoyed as an edible flower for centuries, and may be used to make vinegars, sugars and syrups as well as colourful additions to cakes and desserts. A perfect edible flower to add to your garden, particularly if you would like to create a wildflower garden.
Wild Primrose – It is best to sow Wild Primroses at this time of year as they need a period of cold to break their dormancy and encourage germination. Although they are commonly sold at garden centres, it is unwise to eat ready grown plants as you will not know what pesticides they have been treated with. In addition, they should not be picked from the wild because they have decreased in recent decades in the wild due to pressures on their natural habitat. Wild Primroses are a popular flower with pollinating insects as they are one of the first flowers of the season. They have a lovely mild, sweet flavour and can be sugared easily to create lovely easter cake decorations. The young leaves and flowers are also great when added to salads.
Viola Heartsease – Violas are always a popular choice with edible flower fans and Viola Heartsease is one of the most commonly enjoyed as it produces beautiful little pansy-like flowers for a lovely display both in the garden and when added to food. The sweet tasting flowers are easy to use in the kitchen, being added to salads, to decorate sweet or savoury dishes, to make floral teas, crystalise or to make sugars and syrups.
Viola Freckles – A more unusual and less known Viola is Freckles which produces an abundance of delicate white and purple freckled flowers. A great choice for anyone who would like to grow a more unusual looking Viola to add to their food. Lovely for cakes and desserts.