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One of my favorite flowers to share, Love-in-a-Mist

Looking for inspiration

I’m reading a book called, “The Happiness Project”.  In one of the chapters, the author, Gretchen Rubin, suggests that we should look to the things that we do in our spare time as inspiration.

One of my favorite things to do is, garden.  But even more fun than that is sharing flowers from my garden.

In past neighborhoods, I’ve arranged flower exchanges to swap flowers with friends and neighbors.  They are super easy to plan, and I usually end up with some pretty great new finds.  This year, I tried to plan one, and only one of my friends showed up.

Hey, that’s okay.  More great plants for me!

My friend Julie brought over bronze fennel, a rose, oregano, and walking onions.

I then took Julie around my house and we dug up anything that I had enough to share, and that struck her fancy.

When you love to garden, most everything strikes your fancy.

A couple of days ago, my friend Rachel came over, and again we strolled around the flowers, digging up flowers to spice up her beds.

Since I can’t possibly share all of my flowers with my readers, I thought I might share the what, why, and where to plant of some of my favorites.

First up…

Love-in-a-Mist

a.k.a. Nigella damascena, Devil-in-the-bush

Love-in-a-Mist flowers, these are a cross between Persian Jewels and Miss Jekyl

I got my first start of this plant about eight years ago from a neighbor with a wild backyard full of cottage garden flowers.  She was moving, and wanted to make sure that starts of her plants got to those of us in the neighborhood that would treasure them.

I planted the start in a partially shaded area underneath a rose bush by a shed.

The plants grew well, and each year reseeded themselves.  The variety that I got was all periwinkle blue.

I love the blue and magenta. Most of the flowers this year were white though.

Last summer, I purchased a couple of starts from Prairie Trail farm in Goshen.  I believe I got a Miss Jekyl and a Persian Jewels.  The starts were tiny at the beginning of the summer, but by mid-summer, the starts were about a foot in diameter (the whole plant, not the stem!).  They flowered beautifully, and reseeded themselves in my flowerbed.  I did save seeds too, to share and plant in other places.

I love self-sowing annuals.  It’s what cottage gardens rely on.

My former neighbor, and flower mentor Jeanette, taught me to delight in the gift of flowers coming up in unexpected places.  Because of her, I dead-head (cut off the old flowers) much less than I used to, so the seeds can feed the birds and the flowers can decide where they would like to grow next year.

This year, the love-in-a-mist was a little too close to the front of the border.  They are a bit taller than the perennials, that the year before were in front of the nigella.

The flowers are completely unique.  They have a ferny green backdrop behind delicate petals, and green curls coming from the center of the flower.  When the flower is spent, an alien looking pod forms.  The pods are full of loose little black seeds.  I recommend just leaving the pods on the plant.  In the winter, it will create a lot of interest when the other flowers have gone away.

But, the pods can be just as fun brought inside and dried.

What if you don’t have friends that have a start of Love-in-a-Mist for you?

A pack of seeds will do. (The sample seed shop has them, and I love their seeds.  Or, if you have some seeds that you would like to trade, I could save some for you this year.)

Just scatter the seeds in spring or summer where you would like them to grow, an violá, you have some plants.  They will grow in the sun and partial shade.

Now get cracking, and go outside and plant something!

Love-in-a-Mist in all its podded glory

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