Herbs in Bloom: A Guide to Growing Herbs as Ornamental Plants

Herbs in Bloom: A Guide to Growing Herbs as Ornamental Plants

by Jo Ann Gardner


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Herbs in Bloom: A Guide to Growing Herbs as Ornamental Plants by Jo Ann Gardner

Now in paperback, Herbs in Bloom is a delightful A–Z selection of 80 favorite groups of flowering herbs. Full of detailed information on how to grow each herb from seed or cuttings, the book offers systematic advice on site selection, soils, transplanting, and other practical concerns. Over 700 herbs are included in all. In the author's words, "It is my aim to convince fellow gardeners that herbs also have beautiful flowers and can be used to advantage anywhere in the landscape."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881926989
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/12/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 394
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Jo Ann has written for numerous publications including Horticulture, Country Journal, Old House Journal, Garden Magazine, and Herb Quarterly. She is also a member of the Garden Writers Association. Jo Ann Gardner currently resides in the foothills of the Adirondacks in New York's lush Champlain Valley where she and her husband, Jigs, are reestablishing a small farm and garden. They are involved in volunteer work for the local nursing home, where they are developing extensive gardens.

Read an Excerpt

In their native Mediterranean habitat, calendulas bloom almost every month of the year. This unusual characteristic is preserved in the plant's name, derived from the Latin calendae, meaning "through the months." Plants grow on erect and brittle stems with oval, light green, clasping leaves as long as 6 in. (15.2 cm) at the base. Each stem carries a daisy-like flowerhead 1.5–3 in. (3.8–7.6 cm) across, with pale yellow to deep orange rays in several rows and sometimes with a chocolate-brown center. In common with other members of the family, calendulas close at sunset and open in the morning, damp with dew as Shakespeare described. The whole plant is covered with little hairs that give it a sticky feeling. When bruised, the flowers and leaves give off a peppery aroma.

This plant, rather than the French or African marigold (Tagetes), is the marigold of past literature. It was primarily valued as an easily accessible and edible vegetable with nearly evergreen leaves. Its petals, high in vitamin A, were stored in barrels and sold by the ounce to impart their rich, orange-yellow color to cheese and butter or to give a smooth texture to soups and stews. Their lathering, thickening, and soothing properties are due to the presence of saponin, for which calendula flowers were and still are used in preparations to soothe and heal cuts and bruises.

Because of its easygoing disposition and its ability to produce blooms over a long period — from early summer through successive frosts or from winter to spring in warmer areas — it has been called a workhorse of the ornamental garden. Variations of the simple cottage garden flower come and go, some with double flowers to 4 in. (10.2 cm) wide with quilled petals like mums, others with unusual crested centers. Some are dwarf to 12 in. (30.5 cm), need less deadheading, and are suitable for containers. One of the most popular Calendula officinalis seed strains is the vigorous Pacific Beauty Mixed that produces plants 18–24 in. (45.7–61.0 cm) tall, with large, wide, double flowers that remain loose enough to reveal an occasional dark center. These come in the full range of calendula colors — cream, bright yellow, brilliant orange, apricot, and even orange petals with mahogany-red undersides. In the cultivar 'Touch of Red' the theme is elaborated so that the backsides of petals in the full color range are all literally touched with red.

Various calendulas are suitable for different situations. The old-fashioned, cottage garden flower can be left to self-sow in a dooryard planting with other annuals such as poppies (Papaver) and larkspur (Delphinium); the heirloom cultivar Calendula officinalis 'The King', large, double, and orange, can be interplanted along a narrow border with dark blue cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) and spreading mats of white sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima). As temperatures fall

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