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Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

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Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 9/2/2011, 1:26 am

When I started my frist SFG decades ago I was a purest. No flowers in my garden. They'er pretty sure but I thought of them as a waste of space. This year I have seen the light. I was so wrong. There are many reasons to interplant flowers and flowering herbs in and around your garden I do not have the space here to completely cover the subject but I am happy to share an introduction.



1. Did I say they were pretty? The beauty that flowers add was underated by me I must admit. I had no idea how enjoyable sitting in the garden among the flowers would be. For those of you who have HOA's to deal with it may make it possible to have a vegetable when other wise it would not be alowed.

2. Flowers attract pollinators. I think most of us already know that, but planting Sweet Alyssum, and Borage can attract many times the pollinators than a garden would have without them. Our ag. extention agent Keith Fuller once said to me "Planting Borage is a way to pay the bees for all thier hard work". Bees show a preferance for blue, yellow and white flowers.

3. Small flowers attract benefical insects here is a neat list I found.

Anise
While not a spectacular flower, this member of the carrot family is good for attracting parasitic wasps, lady beetles, and other beneficial insects. It's a tall, ferny herb that makes a good backdrop for a vegetable patch.

Bachelor's buttons
The cheerful blue bachelor's buttons, or cornflower, is a good nectar provider for many beneficial insects. The bright blue color will attract bees to pollinate the garden.

Borage
Borage is an ancient herb that is a terrific bee magnet, and is excellent for drawing other pollinators. It's a good companion for strawberries and vine crops.

Candytuft
This old-fashioned annual attracts bee-like hoverflies that are good pollinators. It also provides nectar for other beneficial insects and cover for various beetles.

Calendula
Also called pot marigold, calendula is easy to grow and provides abundant pollen to feed many predatory insects. It is also a nectar plant for butterflies.

Chervil
Not a spectacular flower, but this herb will attract parasitic wasps that destroy many garden pests.

Cosmos
Tall, ferny cosmos is a cheerful and attractive flower that brightens the late summer garden. It will attract bees, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and provide nectar for butterflies. The seed heads will attract many small birds.

Dill
Like anise, dill is grown as an herb rather than a flower, but it too will attract many beneficial insects.

Marigolds
The Aztecs planted marigolds in the belief that these flowers protected their crops, and they were right. A ring of marigolds around the garden helps ward off parasitic nematodes. The flowers draw many pollinators, including hoverflies, and provide food for parasitic wasps. Birds will pick apart the seed heads if they are left in place.

Nasturtium
Bright nasturtiums come in both vining and dwarf forms. They attract many pollinating insects, and are a good trap crop for aphids. They will also confuse pests that attack cucumbers and squash if planted along with these crops.

Sunflowers
Big, bouncy sunflowers are a familiar part of the vegetable patch, and for good reason. Their abundant pollen draws many beneficial insects, they produce nectar for butterflies, and birds feast on their seeds.

Sweet Alyssum
A border of sweet alyssum around a garden bed provides cover for predatory beetles. The flowers are a rich source of nectar for many pollinators.

Learn more about this author, Karen Bledsoe



3. It has yet to be proven without a doubt but it is said some flowers repel garden pests. Cabbage moths don't like Anise Hyssop or sage. Tomato Horn Worms hate Borage. Japanese beetles feel the same way about Geraniums. Who has not heard of the power of pot marigold to keep root knot nematodes at bay.

4. On the other side of the coin we have Trap Crops. These attract pests away from your vegetables. I wouldn't interplant them but have them nearby, when they become infested you can pull them up and dispose of them by burning or bagging. Some good ones are nasturiums since they are much loved by aphids, cucmber beetles and white flies, sunflowers attract stink and big legged bugs, nicotiana aphids enjoys these.

5. Biodiversity, Mel is a fan of this I know. Planting a wide variety of things confuse insect pests.

OK they are bound to be some who still think as I once did and do not want to give even one square up to a mere flower. I saved the last one for you.

6. Many flowers are edible this list is found at http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Edible_Flowers_List







  • Angelica: tastes like licorice
  • Anise hyssop: anise or licorice flavor
  • Apple blossoms: like apples
  • Chive flowers: taste like chives
  • Bee Balm: tastes somewhat like oregano or mint

  • Borage: somewhat cucumber-like
  • Carnation: sweet flavor, good for desserts
  • Chamomile: somewhat like apples
  • Chervil: anise
  • Chrysanthemums: tangy, bitter
  • Citrus blossoms: taste like the fruit
  • Clover: sweet, somewhat anise
  • Cornflower: usually spicy, somewhat like cloves
  • Dandelion: sweet, honey-like
  • Day Lily: somewhat sweet, reminiscent of vegetables
  • Garden Sorrel: tart, lemony
  • Gladiolas: lettuce-like, mild, but pretty as a serving vessel
  • Hibiscus: tart, like cranberries
  • Honeysuckle: sweet
  • Hyacinth: nutty
  • Jasmine: strong, good for use in tea
  • Johnny Jump-Ups: mild, wintergreen
  • Lavender: sweet, floral
  • Lemon verbena: lemon
  • Lilac: flowery, a little bitter
  • Linden: similar to honeysuckle
  • Marigold: usually peppery, can be somewhat bitter

  • Nasturtium: peppery, good in salads
  • Okra: nutty, somewhat like asparagus when cooked
  • Pansy: mild, slightly sweet
  • Pineapple Guava: sweet, melon-like
  • Primrose: slightly sweet
  • Queen Anne's Lace: light, like a carrot
  • Rose: different varieties have different flavors, but mostly sweet; even if you do not want to eat them, consider using them to decorate cakes and pastries
  • Squash blossoms: taste like the squash they would have grown into
  • Sunflower: young flowers taste like artichokes, older flowers are bitter

  • Sweet Woodruff: sweet, somewhat nutty
  • Tulip: mild lettuce or cucumber flavor

Keep in mind when eating flowers not all parts of all flowers are edible, make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides, or exposed to animal excrement.



Did I say they were pretty?
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  madnicmom on 9/2/2011, 6:24 am

WOW! Thank you! I just may give up a square or two next year. Interesting stuff you provided.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  Goosegirl on 9/2/2011, 8:15 am

Cool post - thanks Shannon!!!!! Next year I will extend my flower plantings in my SFG to try a few more of these. I planted some flowers (nasturtium, calendula, marigold, zinnia, with a LOAD of volunteer sunflowers nearby) in my SFG this year and until the grasshoppers appeared about a week ago I have had virtually NO insect pest problems! Between the SFG and the flower companions this has been my easiest and most carefree garden EVER!

GG
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  Denese on 9/2/2011, 9:14 am

Thank you, Shannon. I did give up a few squares this year to marigolds, but I'll definitely be looking at using some of the others you've listed, for next year. Also, I knew some flowers were edible, but I'm really shocked at just how many!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/2/2011, 10:09 am

Shannon, that was very good! I am one that likes to keep the SFG for the garden, but you've opened my mind. And, that's not easy to do.

way to go
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  quiltbea on 9/2/2011, 10:17 am

I really like the contrast of a lovely bright flower in a square or two in a bed. It draws the eye and is so peaceful. Repelling beasties and eating the edibles are an added bonus. This year I had nasturtiums, geraniums and pansies here and there in the beds with pots of calendula and pansies beside some beds and some sunflowers shading my coldframe of lettuces. I know I'll be using flowers again next year.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  FarmerValerie on 9/2/2011, 11:27 am

Thanks for this AWESOME addition to the Rookie Topics, AND this forum. This is an awesome resource. I'll admit though I just skimmed it, but I'll be back in a bit on my lunch break (I know I stay home, but even us SAHMs need a break now and then) to read it slower. Again, this is an awesome resource thanks so much for posting this, GREAT JOB!!!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  Furbalsmom on 9/2/2011, 12:32 pm

Thanks, Shannon. Looking forward to trying a bit of flowers in the SFG. I was so greedy this year, I just planted veggies, but need to reconsider. We eat so many salads, a few blossoms may be just the thing to make them prettier and add a new taste.
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Friday's rookie topic XVI Flowers in the SFG

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/2/2011, 1:22 pm

Thank you for the list. I had a Purple Basil perennial which was constantly buzzing with bees, but I had to remove it because it was planted in an area where it shaded some of my vegetable. It was 3 feet and cutting it back just made it grow taller. I would definitely consider the annuals or perennials that stay less than 12 inches.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  capatl on 9/2/2011, 10:11 pm

thanks Shannon, that is some great info! I totally plan to intermingle more of these next spring. I also read that SVB's don't like dill, they were my biggest issue this season. I will have dill planted in a few spots around the garden, no doubt. Hope they help!

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 9/3/2011, 3:02 am

Thank you everyone you are too kind. I realy like the fact that so many flowers are multipurpose. Dill is a great example of this.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  middlemamma on 9/3/2011, 5:56 am

Thank you Shannon...Great post!! Appreciate you helping us get Rookie Topics back on the board. Smile
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  middlemamma on 9/3/2011, 5:58 am

why the heck does this ONE thread look so funny? All the text is weird and fruity... Evil or Very Mad Other threads look fine....
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 9/3/2011, 6:24 am

I don't know, I was having alot of trouble with the whole thing I realy wanted to post some pics too but couldn't.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  quiltbea on 9/3/2011, 8:20 am

Dill grows very tall and wispy and will shade plants so use it to the southeast of lettuces, spinach and others wanting a little protection from the sun.



The wispy tall greens in front are dill in early June. They got lots bigger.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  sherryeo on 9/3/2011, 12:03 pm

Great, Shannon! I am going to study this closely for mention of those pests that give me particular problems and try some of these!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  milaneyjane on 9/3/2011, 11:29 pm

I have never wanted to "waste" garden space for flowers in the SFG but this year I did put them in the school gardens......what a difference! We had no pests and they look beautiful. I was surprised just how HUGE the flowers got. Don't try to squeeze them. The allysum we planted is trailing down the front of the box a good 2 feet. We did one whole box of flowers so we could attract butterfly.
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Friday's rookie topic XVI Flowers in the SFG

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/4/2011, 12:12 am

Shannon, you’ve got me thinking and re-thinking! I wanted to limit the height of what I place in the SFG. But just recently, I discovered that an annual I have always planted in my front California native garden, Phacelia tanacetifolia, has been used in Europe as a pollinator, cover crop, and attractant for hoverflies. Now, I am considering placing it somewhere near or in my SFG. It does grow to 2-3 ft depending how much you water it. This California native may produce dermatitis in sensitive people. I always use gloves when I pull it out. It will attract bees to pollinate, hoverflies to eat aphids, and nutrition for my soil when I use it in my compost!

This link gives extensive information on this plant, also called Tansy-leaf Phacelia or Caterpillar Phacelia because the flowers curl up like a caterpillar:

http://seriousaboutcamo.typepad.com/files/phacelia_farmer_version.pdf

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  ModernDayBetty on 1/16/2012, 1:10 pm

I feel like I'm taking a time warp back to September. Sorry I missed this post, I would have asked soon! It was the busy hum of back to school that kept me away from sfg forum so I'll blame being a teacher on earlier missed opportunity.

I am really interested in growing Queen Annes Lace. From what I understand it grows wild in some parts of Washington, just not sure where. I have been trying to find seeds but I've hit a bit of a wall. I love how pretty and complementary they are with most other wild/garden flowers in a bouquet. Has anyone ever bought seeds? If under a alternative name please tell me which. (the multitude of names might just be the problem!) Thanks!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 1/17/2012, 2:37 am

@ModernDayBetty wrote:I feel like I'm taking a time warp back to September. Sorry I missed this post, I would have asked soon! It was the busy hum of back to school that kept me away from sfg forum so I'll blame being a teacher on earlier missed opportunity.

I am really interested in growing Queen Annes Lace. From what I understand it grows wild in some parts of Washington, just not sure where. I have been trying to find seeds but I've hit a bit of a wall. I love how pretty and complementary they are with most other wild/garden flowers in a bouquet. Has anyone ever bought seeds? If under a alternative name please tell me which. (the multitude of names might just be the problem!) Thanks!

Did a quick google search and found lots of places to buy seeds, american medows looks interesting.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  camprn on 2/4/2012, 6:54 am

Bees love blue and yellow <~~~click


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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  newstart on 2/4/2012, 8:12 am

thanks camprn will try to pick up some blues
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 2/5/2012, 1:59 am

planting even more flowers this spring. Benifical insects love small white flowers I will let some of my herbs flower late spring early summer. I'm planting plenty of them for everyone this year. making a special 2x4 herb box and some in pots.flower
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  wncsohn on 2/5/2012, 9:12 am

Wow, I knew that flowers were beneficial but I didn't realize there were so many!

I am definately glad you posted this information and will definately be looking into it further! Especially since Tomato Horn Worms totally destroyed my tomatoes 2 years running!

I have bachelor's button (Blue Boy), nasturtium (Empress of India) and two types of sunflower (Teddy Bear & Mammoth Grey) that I've not ever planted. Apparently, shame on me! They will definately all get a place in my garden this year, along with MANY other flowers and herbs!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

Post  shannon1 on 2/6/2012, 3:08 am

@wncsohn wrote:Wow, I knew that flowers were beneficial but I didn't realize there were so many!

I am definately glad you posted this information and will definately be looking into it further! Especially since Tomato Horn Worms totally destroyed my tomatoes 2 years running!

I have bachelor's button (Blue Boy), nasturtium (Empress of India) and two types of sunflower (Teddy Bear & Mammoth Grey) that I've not ever planted. Apparently, shame on me! They will definately all get a place in my garden this year, along with MANY other flowers and herbs!
decades ago when I just had some flowers growing I remember watching a rather lg. wasp flying up under the flowers and leaves. I had no idea what was going on until I saw it emerge and fly off with a big, fat caterpillar. It was amazing that it could hold it. I thought to myself at the time this is one of those National Geographic moments.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XVI: Flowers in the SFG

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