The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Flowers from the garden: July 2008

nasturtiums and feverfewI haven’t bought flowers for the cottage since January 2007. This has saved money and fast tracked the development of the herbaceous borders. Although we have now have quite a wide range of plants that flower in July, I’ve chosen an edible posy of flowers for this month’s entry. Nasturtiums and feverfew.

I’ve always had a soft spot for nasturtiums ever since I spotted that the guinea pigs in a Beatrix Potter story were using them as parasols. We have nasturtiums growing in the kitchen garden. John Coe thinks that I’m mad as he likes to see neat rows of vegetables and nothing else. I chose the trailing varieties so that they’d scramble between the rows. If they look as if they are beginning to take over they can be harvested easily.

We eat the flowers, stems, leaves in salads. They have a peppery taste and are packed with vitamin C. Don’t harvest them well in advance as they can turn bitter if left for too long. They also contain an anti bacterial agent that mimics the effect of penicillin. Yesterday The Chicken Lady found a recipe for pickling the chubby seeds in an old book – they taste a bit like capers treated in this way.

The leaves of feverfew are a well known alternative remedy to treat migraine headaches.

I planted nasturtium seeds for the first two years, now they self seed every year. Feverfew grows like a weed in our garden, preferring the sunniest spots.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Triffids – brilliant! Ours are just in the kitchen garden now and come up every year. I have planted Alaska in the past but they haven™t self seeded nearly so well.

    Hi Plumsource

    Love the blood red ones too. I bought a cheap pack of seeds in Sainsbury’s a few years ago and they are gradually replacing the mixed coloured varieties.

    Hello TCL

    That’s a lovely idea.

    Hi Casalba

    I will ask TCL for the recipe.

    Hi Organic Viking

    Totally agree – flowers in salads look decadent and very special.

    Interesting about the feverfew. Thanks.

    Hi Celia

    I’m going to try pickling the seeds too. Mine are very fat this year.

    Hi Kate(uk)

    I used to be a bit suspicious – how do people really know that they are edible?! Now I rather enjoy tossing a few into a salad.

  2. Kate(uk)

    I have never been able to bring myself to eat flowers- just seems wrong to eat something so pretty. Yes, I know that is very irrational…why one can happily eat leaves, roots,seeds and fruit but not flowers is just daft really, but I still couldn’t do it- though sometimes I can get very tempted by a particularly juicy day lily…

  3. magic cochin

    I didn’t realise nasturtium were so nutritious! W have loads this year planted in tubs with the tomatoes in our courtyard. The nasturtiums are rampaging around – climbing through thr tomatoes and up the walls! I may try pickling the seeds as I love capers.


  4. The Organic Viking

    I adore nasturiums. In fact I get quite a thrill from most edible flowers – they just seem somehow almost decadent in salads. Incidentally, feverfew is also supposed to be a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis

  5. casalba

    Should that have been ‘sowed’ – I’m confusing myself now!

  6. casalba

    This is a lovely post, Fiona. I too love Nasturtiums and sewed three different types this year. I’m going to have to get some of the blood red variety, though – they look beautiful.

    Any chance of the recipe from The Chicken Lady? It sounds intriguing.

  7. The Chicken Lady

    Although I stil buy supermarket flowers I only buy the ones on ‘Death Row’ with reduced stickers on them. I feel I am giving them one last chance to shine in front of an audience.

  8. plumsource

    Yes – a lovely posy! Esp love the blood red of the nasturtium flowers

  9. That is a beautiful bouquet of flowers Fiona!! I love Nasturtiums. Brian calls them Triffids as they are likely to end up anyplace in the garden here. 🙂

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