Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Self-Sowing Annual

Nigella damascena is another self-sowing annual that I have in abundance, and in great variety, in my garden this year. I sowed seeds in early spring over a year ago, and left the plants over the winter to drop their seeds. This spring they've sprouted like mad.

I don't remember having this many different colors last year. I wonder if they are as promiscuous as columbine?

This light blue is most common

There's also a very dark, midnight blue.



There's a white one with a ring of blue in the center

And there's a pretty, very girly pink

This one has sowed itself into the gravel next to my Agave 'Blue Glow.'

They work well as companions to my self-sown California poppies.

The bees love them too!

The seedpods are great in flower arrangements, and when dry, they split open at the top and hundreds of tiny black seeds spill out.

They remind me of a jester wearing a tutu

Nigella seeds are used in cooking, but those come from Nigella sativa. Some common names are Love-in-a-Mist, Devil-in-a-Bush, and Persian Jewels. I started growing them from seed many years ago, when I first started gardening. It amused me to have a plant with a name similar to my husband's, Nigel.

I grow Alyssum too, which is a bit like my own name, but they don't seem to come in so much variety. Hmmm...I wonder what the takeaway from that bit of info is.

16 comments:

  1. Haha, it is fun to have plants whose names are similar to yours and your family :). They are pretty. I've bought seeds this year for the first time, but I think it was too late in the season and won´t have plants this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My Nigella was finally overtaken by something else. I miss it. Your combo with California Poppies is super.

    Sweet Alyssum is good where there's a need for a bit of white. Right now I am using it to protect a tiny Crape Myrtle cutting that might otherwise be mowed if it didn't have that ruffle of white.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your Nigella are beautiful. I wish I could get them going in my garden. I'm trying to use them as fillers among robust perennials but I think they get out shaded and out competed before they can get growing. I've seeded them every year for three years and I only get one to two spindly plants each year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm, that's a thinker. Alyssum comes in lots of colors purple, white, off white, pink, sort of a coral. Maybe they're just shy and need an introduction to your garden. Nigella is a whorticultural slut and will cross pollinate like nobody's business. Lucky for you as that dark blue is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love Nigella. I wish I could get it to self-sow.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Even the seed pods looks so ornamental!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love that dark blue! I hadn't grown it in years, but the kids came home with two little seedlings from school this spring. I stuck them in a pot and they didn't amount to much, but I got a few flowers and hope to have more sprout up next year.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That dark blue is stunning! I like Nigella and love it with the California poppies. Great combo. I might have to steal...I mean borrow...this idea. Sweet alyssum almost always reverts to straggly plants with white flowers, regardless of what you start with.

    ReplyDelete
  9. they are so gorgeous, its like they are little characters & give you so much more than just a flower with their seedpods!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have seen Nigella used very effectively in gardens. it's very pretty in yours with the poppies.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The dark blue one is fabulous, especially with your Californian poppies. I have just sown some in my new border filling in amongst the permanent planting, I don't know if they will flower this year, if not, then I will just have to wait till next year.

    ReplyDelete
  12. They are gorgeous and you have so many lovely colours. I particularly love the deep blue one.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My love affair with Nigella is OVER after battling with carpets of seedlings for years.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved all the Nigella we saw in Portland. Great color and shape.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I also will rave about your dark blue, mine are a washed out blue but have reseeded for 21 years. I actually have more this year because I went around and crushed and spread the seed pods last fall. I also bought a couple of packages of different ones but sadly forgot to sow them this spring, I may try late anyway, I don't know what will happen.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have nigella, too, and love them, but they need more sun so mine are a bit floppy. But they're still pretty. :o)

    ReplyDelete

Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.