The edible flower garden

When talking about edible and garden most of us see this:

Vegetables - My Green NookVegetables, and perhaps fruit, herbs and berries. But how about this?

Vegetables an edible flowers - My Green NookThe flowers have found their way into the kitchen. And I bet the edible garden looks pretty and is full of life.

Here in Stockholm winter has it´s grip and the gardening season seems far away. Now is the time for pruning apple trees and other non-bleeders. Today the sun is shining and the snow is glistening. These days are lovely. I am sitting in my nook writing and came to think of all the amazing gardens I have seen on other blogs. Some of you never get snow or the winter season is still mild. Others already have witnessed the first signs of Spring. Maybe your bulbs and tubers are in their prime. At first I thought it was a little bit early to tell you about the edible flower garden. But after considering the varieties in climate and plant zones I changed my mind.

Once I made an edible flower composition for a public square in a suburb to Stockholm. I was given the task to decorate three large containers. I knew that during summer it used to be market stands selling fruit and vegetables on the square. So I came up with the idea to use edible plants in the containers to suit the theme. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to photograph them. So sadly I have no pictures to show you. Well the employer was very pleased so it have to have been a success. But I got the plants written down so I can try to give you a picture.

Before I continue I would like to tell you the story of being a gardener in Sweden and similar plant zones. First of all you have to order the annual Summer plants in the Winter often already in November. And the annual Spring plants is ordered during the prior summer. The nursery takes your order and start their work. So your plants is ready for delivery in the beginning of summer, often in June. Spring plants is commonly delivered in April. It takes a skilled planer and an established or at least good relation with the nursery.

This procedure makes gardening a bit more interesting and advanced. You are not able to choose the plants on the nursery and you cannot see your chosen plants live. So you depend on your experience and gut feeling. Viewing plants online or in a catalog seldom shows the correct colors. So you have to be careful and make your composition flexible. A second thing to take into account is that accidents happen. Even the best of nurseries may fail for many different reasons. This is why I always order some extra plants to be sure, about 10% of the total order is insurance plants. If you don´t need them while planting you can keep them as a reserve. Plants are living material and may die or deteriorate for some reason. Make sure you have a back up plan. Speak with your nursery and solve it together. Maybe you don´t have to have a particular variety or sort but rather a specific color, structure or habitus.

To cut to the chase… This is my pick of flowers for the composition I told you about earlier in this post. I named the theme Citrus and made two different compositions, Orange and Lemon.

The edible flower garden - My Green Nook

Theme Citrus

Container Orange

  • Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Orange Gem’ – Marigold
  • Pelargonium ‘Orange Fizz’ – Scented Geranium
  • Beta vulgaris ‘Orange Fantasia’ – Swiss chard
  • Cynara cardunculus ‘Green Globe’ – Artichoke

Container Lemon

  • Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Lemon Gem’ –  Marigold
  • Pelargonium ‘Citronella’ – Scented Geranium
  • Beta vulgaris ‘Bright Yellow’ – Swiss chard
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Teddy bear’ – Sunflower

To keep the two compositions together I used Perilla frutescens (Red Shiso) as a pop-up plant in both containers.

I also found some recipes including edible flowers. I think it is a fun idea and actually tasty too. I once had Geranium cake and it was delicious. Have you ever tried to use flowers in your cooking?

Edible flower recipes - My Green Nook

Do you want to read more about edible flowers?

Books

Book tips: Edible flowers - My Green Nook

Caution: Never eat anything you do not recognize or know for sure it is edible. There are a lot of poisonous flowers so be wise. For Geraniums it is only the scented once you can eat including, Pelargonium graveolens. And I advise you to only use organic grown flowers. You do not want any pesticides or other chemicals in your food.

Source pictures – photo attributes:

2 Crochet Hooks
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13 thoughts on “The edible flower garden

  1. Loved this post! We dont have snow in Pune and the winter is mild so I’m not very familiar with the species you have written. However its a great idea. 🙂 The topic for my presentation during a hobby field botany course was ‘edible flowers’! Flowers are ‘eaten’ in many parts of India. Most of the times, they are cooked and not eaten raw. Some examples are Madhuca longifolia, flowers from the Banana inflorescence, Sesbania grandifolia, Dioscorea bulbifera. However Rose is the most widely used flower in our cuisine- for flavour or garnish and we also make ‘Gulkand’ from rose petals (is like a jam) which is very useful when consumed in summer.

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  2. I love edible flowers! But confess I’ve only added them to salads, so that’s not really cooking is it. I understand your dilemma with the different climates. I lived in Kodiak Alaska for a few years and being a gardener was pretty taken aback by the dark winters and non-dark summers. With such a short growing season, good thing it’s the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. I couldn’t believe how fast native plants would grow with round the clock sun light. One year I was so determined to have ‘home grown’ tomatoes (fresh veggies aren’t a staple in Kodiak, you can buy them if you like them already brown :p) I grew my plants inside (too cold even in the Summer to put them out, toms like the heat) with a grow light and hand pollinated them! I was young and ambitious back then! I only got a few but they were the sweetest ever, probably due to all the work just to get them to set!

    All groceries were flown in and usually froze on the way due to the altitude. I made homemade bread the whole time we were there. It was hard to find a loaf of bread on the shelf without mildew from thawing sitting on that shelf. I learned how to make honey using the wildflowers that grew naturally there. Wild blueberries and salmonberries covered the island. I made lots of jams, syrups, and anything else I could figure out how to make to use that free fresh produce. I guess I did some cooking with flowers after all! LOL We had the freezer stocked with Halibut, Crab, all kinds of Salmon, Deer, and other kinds of fish. It was a wonderful experience I will never forget. Living off the land, needless to say, I was in my element. Born and raised in California, I left my heart on Kodiak. Still miss the woods and Salmon stream behind our housing.

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    • Ooh, what an interesting story. I love the final touch “I left my heart in Kodiak” it says it all. No matter how hard the times were to get fresh food you managed. You adapted to nature and took care of it’s riches. Baking your own bread, making honey and eating what nature offered. Fresh salmon and game. Your experience lives on and I understand that you miss the woods and the stream. I think we are meant to live closer to nature when most of us do today. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      You should make your own Kodiak nook at home. Creating a spot where you can find the same peace. I hope we stay in touch!

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      • I’ve tried to make my gardens like the woods, difficult due to the Summer heat. No lawns for me, front or back. Backyard has a Koi pond with waterfall (tons of waterfalls in Kodiak). I’ve included paths throughout my garden – the back is well established (20 yrs. old) so you need to follow a path to see it all. The front is only a few years old, most of the plants are propagated from the ones in back, since my budget is tight. Some day I hope the plants will include larger ones. The only problem is when I walk the paths all I see is what needs to be done – pull weeds, dehead, prune, etc. so I end up working in it instead of enjoying it. I find flaws everywhere and can’t relax until I fix them. Very frustrating! LOL

        I used to love gardening, it was my therapy. Had a few rough years toward the end of my 39 yr.abusive marriage in which I wasn’t allowed to be in the garden. So whenever I would get the chance I’d sneak out for a few minutes and work like a mad woman. It became a chore, not enjoyable at all. I’m trying to find me again and unlearn “chore” and find “enjoy”. After being controlled for that long it’s hard to figure out what I’m suppose to be doing. That and I have 3 of my 4 adult children living at home on SSI due to the abuse we went through. We all are trying to find our way out of the dark, stumbling into the light. One day we will find our position in life and hopefully do more than exist.

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      • It breaks my heart to hear what you and your children have been through and still struggle to overcome. I hope you got good support and people who stand by your side. Someone to talk to and get comfort from. One day you will heal even though the scars still will be there. I understand that you are walking on a path to find yourself and learn what you need. It takes time to change. But I am sure you will make it. You are worth a life filled with joy and pleasures.
        Thank you for opening up your heart ❤
        *Hugs*

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  3. Holy smokes, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!! haha!! Seriously, my mum just found a vintage cookbook on edible flowers, and dropped it off at my place last week! I already placed my order for seeds for the spring, and I don’t feel inclined to bite off on MORE projects (since I’m already maxed out with my veggie and herb garden!) but I am seriously aching for an edible flower garden. I am currently crazy over red clover, so I think I will focus this summer on finding new and innovative ways to use THAT in cooking, since all parts of the plant can be eaten – leaves, stems and flowers. So I’ve been dreaming up ways to use it – red clover lemonaid, red clover infused wine, clover soup, etc. etc….- anyway, edible flowers has been on my brain. Another reason why I LOVE your blog. 😉 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    • Hi hi 🙂 Isn’t it funny – I promise you I haven’t bugged your brain 😉 How awesome to get hold of an old cook book about edible flowers. I read your red clover post and found it very interesting. I love your way of experimenting and trying new recipes. I look forward to read more about it in your blog. Thank you for liking my blog and keeping in touch. Your comments always bring me joy 🙂 Have a great start of your week my friend ❤

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  4. Ohh what a great idea! I have heard of doing edible flower gardening but haven’t tried it yet. Kristina is working on a garden plan so we can add some in 🙂 Thanks for sharing with Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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    • Thank you! I had a great time at your party. How nice that Kristina is working on a new garden plan – it is so much fun 🙂 I am happy if I can contribute with some ideas. Edible flowers is great to grow together with vegetables and herbs. It is a bliss for wildlife and a beauty for your eyes. Good luck with your new garden!

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  5. Oh, I wish I could find edible flowers here (in the US). I mean, I am sure I could find them if – like you said – I would recognize the right ones and be sure about them. But I am not 😉 Back in Germany I used to get an organic salad and it was sprinkled with flowers – I loved it!

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