Thursday, May 9, 2019

Bloomin' Arizona...

Last year we planted some flower seeds in a flower bed in hopes of bringing some life to the bare strip of dirt. The plan was to plant herbal types of plants that flower to benefit the bees, butterflies and humans in the area. I also wanted plants that dropped seeds in hopes of a perpetual flower garden.

I ended up choosing Borage, Purple Cone Flower, Lavender, Hyssop and Calendula. The Borage was mainly planted for the bees. The Purple Cone Flower, aka echinacea, I will eventually be harvesting roots for boosting the immune system and tea for headaches. Lavender, I was hoping to dry it to add petals to my Amanda Bavender Lavender Soap and making lavender tea. Hyssop was another thing I wanted for the bees but it is supposed to be good for coughs, colds, etc. (I have a Hyssop oxymel in the pantry made with my own flowers!). The Calendula is great for skin, I use calendula oil in several of my soaps. It's also great for a detox beverage, anti-inflammatory, etc.

I'm sure I'm not the only person that feels like gardening is more of an experiment than an accomplishment but ya can't give up. Last year the Borage went crazy and basically took over the garden.

This little bee was okay with the Borage barrage.

Quite a few of the Purple Cone Flower seeds were successful but I found it interesting that they didn't get more than 6-8 inches tall. They did bloom, however, and the flowers were the normal size. A few of the Calendula sprouted and bloomed but the Borage overshadowed them and all but one of the Lavender seeds.

Another kind of interesting...or weird...thing is the Lavender (lavendula augustifolia) ended up with white flowers, which isn't a problem, but there is absolutely no scent other than green (you know that smell of a plant that has no flower or herbal just smells like a green plant? That.) and the flower buds are kind of strange. I admit I'm not a Lavender expert but from the images I've seen, the flowers grow around the end of the flower stem, mine seem to grow on one side of the stem so that the end of the stem kind of curls. Also, the plant grows like a ground cover rather than the small bush type of plant I was expecting...I call it Lazy Lavender. I've looked it up numerous times to check and recheck to see if it really *is* lavender.

Anyways, the Hyssop struggled through the summer, mainly due to being covered by the Borage. But when I took out the Borage (highly recommend gloves for this...highly) late last year, the Hyssop started to thrive, and it did so over the winter and now it's getting it's revenge on the Borage by taking over the flower bed.

Hyssop going crazy and the Lazy Lavender kind of just hanging out.

I haven't seen any signs of the Borage seeds sprouting (I harvested many but the plants had to have dropped hundreds). But along the fence the Purple Cone Flowers have done really well this year. Pretty much reaching their normal height. You can see one of the flowers in just about the center, top of the picture above.

Purple Cone Flowers, first bloom this spring and so many buds!

I'm pretty excited about the flower bed, it's looking beautiful and the bees seem extremely content.