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Garden Plans for 2012: Edible Flowers

We are planning to make good use of the variety of sizes of our new raised beds by trying some different things in a small area, rather than devoting half or all of one of our old beds to them. One of the new 4′ x 4′ raised beds will have a theme of “Edible Flowers” this year.

Edible flowers are a fun subject, but the challenge that we ran into during the planning is that most of the really popular edible flowers are all cool season. In other words, since we won’t be able to plant them in March, we had to try something else. When we get to fall, we’ll be able to plant pansies, violas, nasturtiums, calendula, dianthus, snapdragons, etc. However, since we’re aiming for a planting date of mid-May, we had to focus on flowers that like warmer weather.

In the very center of the garden is an edible hibiscus, called Roselle. It is popular in southeast Asia and Mexico. The buds are used to make drinks, teas, jellies, and more.

Then we will have ‘Cardinal’ Basil, the same type we have in the “Beautiful Vegetables” garden.

On the edges will be a reblooming daylily, supplying us with edible buds. Then in the corners will be citrus marigolds and French marigolds. The citrus marigolds are sometimes called “signet” marigolds, and they have a definite citrusy scent and flavor, rather than your typical marigold odor.