First of all, in case you didn’t know, I take a relaxed approach to gardening. What that means is if something sprouts up that I don’t recognize, I don’t immediately pull it out. As you might imagine, this leads to a garden that gives the impression of, well, I call it natural, you may call in barely controlled chaos. It also leads to some pleasant surprises.
This spring, a plant began growing in one of my containers. Because of the leaf pattern, I assumed it was larkspur, which I had planted there the year before, but which did not appreciate the forced neglect my entire garden suffered almost all of last year due circumstances beyond my control. That’s the long way of saying it died. I thought perhaps it has managed to drop a few seeds before passing and was glad for the second chance.
It soon became obvious that the flowers were white. Although I’d planted the purple variety of larkspur, it was a hybrid and they don’t seed true to their parent. However, once this flower bloomed, it became obvious it was not a larkspur. So, after studying it for a bit, I went to the container where I keep my seeds. I even keep empty packets of flowers I love. Sure enough, there it was. A flower I had planted 2 years ago, but had never come up.
Meet Nigella–Hot Fudge Sundae (Give you two guesses at the double reason I picked this flower)
Nigella grows in full sun, but I have it planted in a container where it gets about seven hours of sun and is sheltered from the afternoon heat, which is necessary in my climate. This flower only gets more interesting the older it becomes. The flower that is centered in the picture is the developing seed pod. Yes, these will go in my fall flower arrangements. I don’t think they’re stamens, but those long projections begin to twist soon after the flower opens and they look like ram horns by the time the flower is full grown. This is an annual, but it self seeds, so I’ll save a few seeds and see if maybe we can have a repeat performance next year.
Because it is an annual, you can grow it wherever you live. It, obviously, blooms in early spring, and after doing a little more research, I found out it will bloom until the first frost—providing I can protect it from zone 9 heat. Each of the flowers pictured have been blooming for at least 2 weeks. The one in the middle that is developing into a seed pod bloomed 4 weeks ago.
This plant is also called Love-in-a-Mist, Lady-in-the-Green, and Jack-in-the-Bush. Why all the hyphenated names? You got me.
Next year, I think I’ll pair it with something vibrant and orange, like California poppies or nasturtiums.