Sunday, May 08, 2016

Nigella - A Wonderful Garden Surprise

Nature's Little Garden Surprises

Sometimes exploring my garden with a camera in my hand helps me see things I might not take note of otherwise. This morning when I was out spider and ladybug hunting, I saw a strange flower next to my mums and hyssop. It was unique. After half an hour of research, I identified it as nigella (Love in a Mist.) 

Nigella - A Wonderful Garden Surprise
Rose Color Nigella Flower, © B. Radisavljevic

Although finding this nigella was a surprise, it is not an accident. I first saw nigella at Fat Cat Farm in May, 2013. It looked like this.

Nigella - A Wonderful Garden Surprise
Blue Nigella Flowers, © B. Radisavljevic

I came back about a month later for my final purchase before Fat Cat Farm closed its doors. By June the seed pods on top were beginning to mature. I liked the unique form of this flower and wanted some, but Rhoda said it doesn't transfer well and was about to die back anyway. I seem to remember her digging one up for me anyway and potting it without charging me.  I seem to remember planting it, with hopes it would reseed, since Rhoda had said it reseeds freely.  I don't see evidence in my photo  record of that  year that I did plant it, but I know if I did, it did not survive or reseed.

The nigella plants look just right in a rock garden. Some of them were in a rock garden at Fat Cat Farm. I snapped this shot on my last visit that June. You can see how the seed capsules have grown. Nigella does need  to be watered while it's growing and blooming. 

Nigella - A Wonderful Garden Surprise
Blue Nigella Flowers in Rock Garden, © B. Radisavljevic

Later that year I bought some nigella seeds and planted some the next spring, but I forgot about it -- until today, when I started wondering what those strange-looking pink  flowers were. I found an old flower book I had  around the house and started looking at all the pink flower photos. Bingo! When I saw the name nigella, it clicked. I had been thinking of them as blue, like the ones I'd seen at Fat Cat Farm. I've since learned they also come in white and rose. I must have planted rose. Amazon has a varied selection of nigella seeds if you can't find them locally.

Nigella flowers are attractive in bouquets, dried, or in the garden. It's best to plant them from seed on open ground in early spring. You may think they are weeds when they first come up. I admit, I almost pulled them, but I've learned by now to recognize certain leaf patterns as more likely to be flowers. I thought it only fair to let these plants show me what they were before I took drastic measures. I'm glad I waited. "Love in a Mist" has rewarded me for my patience. Tomorrow I'll take another look around to see if there are anymore I haven't discovered yet.

Meanwhile, I remember Fat Cat Farm fondly, and I do miss it. This photo taken in their herb garden is an appropriate tribute.  It is also the right size for Pinterest if you'd like to share it there, as is the photo after it. The sculpture is made of recycled materials. I did not see the name of the creator.

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Have you ever had Nigella in your garden or seen it growing?

Nigella - A Wonderful Garden Surprise

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