Protect your neck and the parts of you that are above it, for I am about to blow the minds of you food garden enthusiasts who cannot abide plants in your plot that do not serve any purpose in your mouth. I wish today to end the chlorophyllic tyranny that has rained monotonous green upon your eyes heretofore every time you have taken in the natural majesty of your homestead bounty. I present for you an escape from this drudgery into a land of visual delights on this very side of the rainbow. Here is a short list of edible flowers you can grow without the guilty weight of the purely ornamental world breaking your sturdy and unwaveringly utilitarian back. Most of these flowers help your garden grow in other super practical ways as well, so stand tall and get some color in your life.
This one smells like candy and looks like a fairy tale. It attracts beneficials to your garden with rapidity and grace. Tiny parasitic wasps love it. Bees love it. It is loved. It is used in tinctures and essential oils as an evaporator of anger and rage. It is love incarnate. Your mouth will probably love it as well. It doesn’t taste like what it smells like, it tastes more like kale, a sweet peppery sort of kale. So grow it and eat it.
Red Gem Marigold
Also known as Signet Marigolds, these are tiny little marigold flowers that withstand the heat like pros and bloom all over the place. Bugs think they smell gross, you will think they smell good. Evil nematodes will avoid the soil in which this flowers’ roots lie. When you are hungry and tired of all of your salad looking all green all the time, you can throw these little bursts of sunshine on top of your bowl to make a party happen. They exude a lemony zest upon the senses. Eat.
I’m cheating a little bit on this one. It’s not so much an edible in the traditional sense. We’ve been growing it in our nursery for awhile, and I’ve been marketing it as a medicinal herb but the other week a customer told me it’s delivious on salads as well. It may be that it’s delivcious on salads, but on its own the flower is not so good to eat. It is deceptively lettuce leaf like upon ingestion, but a horrific sort of astringency painfully familiar to those who regularly ingest mysterious potentially edible flora enters the palate a good ten minutes after mastication and does not leave for an hour or more.
That said, it’s a beautiful flower, a wonderful medicinal, and it does wonders as an essential oil and aromatic. This flower has plenty of purpose, and you should put it to good use.
I was trying to stay a bit obscure with this list, and this one probably only made the cut because we’re growing a bunch of Roselle Hibiscus to sell to you over the next few months. This hibiscus, also known as ‘Red Zinger’ is the one most hibiscus tea is made out of. Any hibiscus flower will work to this end, but the Roselle has the most powerful refreshment powers of them all. It also looks much classier than your typical hibiscus plant. Where most Hibiscus screams Jimmy Buffet in your face, this one whispers Jane Austen just next to your ear. Put it in your garden.
Around these parts folks always complain about how they can’t get their Parsley or Cilnatro to grow. It’s too hot. You are doing a fine job with your herbs, you’re just doing your fine job at a horrible time of the year. In New Orleans Parsley and Cilantro are cool season plants. Once Spring hits with the hard heat of the sun, these herbs will bolt on you. This is great news though! Once they bolt, they’ll provide you with many beautiful small flowers that taste exactly like their leaves, and flowers taste better than leaves any day of the week because there is nothing humans love more than ingesting, digesting, and utterly rearranging natural works of unfathomable beauty.
Of course there are many other edible flowers out there in the world, but this is a good slightly weirder than normal place to start. Here’s a short list of a few other neat flowers you can ingest in a raw or fairly unprocessed fashion:
A final note, I didn't include any pictures in this blog because I am adamant about using only my own pictures of our own things all over this website. That includes the picture of the Wu-Tang Clan in the previous post; also the red rubber mulch I told you not to use in same said post. I'm sure if you made it this far you can find your way to many thousands of other people's pictures of the flowers mentioned in this little nugget of floral alimentary education.
Ian writes these. Fearlessly.