13 July 2009

Blooming

I do love vegetable flowers, and watching them unfold gives me more than an aesthetic satisfaction because the edible fruits are soon to follow.

We have potato flowers in varying shades from white to pink to lavender to blue, depending on the variety and corresponding with the color of the potato skin. As soon as these flowers begin to die back, I can begin to excavate some of the treasure trove beneath.
Pea flowers are short lived and delicate creatures. This time of year, the pods seem to grow by inches straight out of the newly opened blossoms.
Bean flowers remind me of orchids, perhaps the homely cousin, but beautiful still. And they continue to flower as young bean pods form, promising a reliable harvest, enough to put away for winter.

Pumpkin and squash flowers glow like lanterns in the bare spring garden, and not surprisingly, they never fail to attract interesting insects for nectar, prey or shelter.

Some flowers are a harvest in themselves, brightening and enlivening salads or garnishing meals. These Nasturtiums have a nearly addictive peppery tang.

And some vegetable flower are only ever seen in the seed saving garden. This globe of tiny onion flowers is wrapped in paper like the bulb below.
But for pure show, no vegetable flower can compete with the infinite variety of plants, bred and shared generation after generation, for the simple delight and surprising complexity of it's flower. Marigolds, Cosmos, Calendula and Hollyhocks have found gaps and corners in our vegetable garden, my selection based on their hardiness and ease of growing.

But nothing brings more insects to the garden than the homely flowers of dill, cilantro, caraway and carrot.

6 comments:

Shari said...

I really enjoy cilantro flowers. I add them to bouquets of cut flowers to add a light airy filler. They smell so good too!
Hollyhocks are some of my favorites as well. My landlords grow some of the most gorgeous gladiolas and zinnias as well.

ChicagoMike said...

That is some of the most magnificent photography I have seen in quite some time.

I planted potatoes for the first time this year and was amazed at how attractive a plant they are.

Curious what you mean by harvesting potatoes as soon as the blooms fall off. I would be waiting much longer to do so. Can you elaborate?

With Best Regard,

ChicagoMike

farm mom said...

Hey friend! Miss you, I'm determined to sit down and write you this afternoon!! :) I agree, our Dill and Cilantro is a magical place full of life....it's the favorite patch in the garden most days! :)

randi said...

loving the photos and, as ever, enjoy your entries!

Ellen said...

Hi Freija and Beringian,

I enjoy reading your blog very much and seeing the beautiful pictures. I have learned so much already and I would like others to read your blog as well. That's why I awarded you the Sisterhood Award on my blog. Maybe not your cup of tea :), but a means to a goal and there is no obligation whatsoever to pass it on.

Thank you for sharing your life with us!

blessings, Ellen
http://www.homesteadblogger.com/dutchberrypatch

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Shari, I agree, cilantro flowers are worthy bouquet companions. We're crazy about coriander seed though, so we covet the flowers for the seeds they will produce. Fresh ground coriander seed, great in everything from curry to cookies!

Chicago Mike, thanks, about the pictures. I should have elaborated about the potatoes, what I mean is sneaking under the plant and pulling out the big ones. If you are gentle, you can harvest some early potatoes without disturbing the later crop.

farm mom, can't wait to hear all about your new adventures!

randi, thanks!

Ellen, thank you very much for wanting to share our blog, and thank you for the award. I look forward to reading your blog.