From the Torridon Kitchen Garden: Out of the Blue

In between the many jobs to be done in the kitchen garden, I have been collecting flower seed for next year’s plants. We grew a bed full of wildflowers this season and now the seed heads are ripening. Corn cockle, corn marigold, horned and field poppies and among the favourites, cornflower (centaurea cyanus). Cornflowers cannot be rivalled for their intense blue colour which would light up the gold of corn stems in the past, but the cornflower is a rare plant in the wild throughout Europe today. We grow them as a cut flower and an edible flower for the kitchen. My friends at Scotia seeds supply wildflower seeds in mixtures and single varieties and they have quite a tough time harvesting seed if the weather is inclement. We will be sowing some of the seed I have gathered directly in a bed and keeping some to grow on as young plants in the spring. Other seeds we have been gathering are Aquilegia, Alstromeria, lupins; these will give more plants for the borders. A good method to harvest is to gather on a dry day, cutting the flower heads into an open brown paper bag, shaking the heads into the bag to release seed. Some seed is good sown fresh, other seed needs to be kept and on occasion put in a fridge to break the dormancy of the seed. Companies such as Scotia seeds give good informative advice on their websites. If you ever get a packet of mixed flower seed, take a look at the seed through a magnifying glass you will be amazed at the amazing textures and shapes.

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Dan & Rohaise are proud owners of The Torridon a family run and independent Hotel and resort. Passionate about food, service, provenance and promoting hospitality as an Industry of choice, especially for young people.

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