May 16, 2010

Lovely Flowers for Narrow Spaces

There is a narrow strip of ground between the path and the cottage garden fence—right beside the front gate to our home. Lavender had overgrown the space after four years, so I had to come up with a better plan this time.

I decided to use Love-in-a-Mist (nigella damascena) mixed with poppies for spring color. The nigella is a stunning performer! I have several varieties of nigella in my garden, but this one is 'Miss Jekyll Blue'.

Seeds sown in late fall produced a dainty display of frilly foliage through the winter. The upright nigella foliage is over two feet in height while the width perfectly fits the narrow garden space.

The nigella is covered with beautiful buds—more buds than I've ever seen on such small plants! The pale green buds pop open with the loveliest blooms. The blooms transition from a pale blue that deepens to a cobalt blue.

Plant the seeds in autumn in a partial to full sun location. I sowed my seeds in a mix of compost and garden soil, but a few stray nigella seeds are blooming happily in the gravel garden path. So far, nigella has been deer and rabbit resistant, but your results may vary.

Once growing in your garden, nigella is a self-sowing annual, so if the seed pods are left on the plant, there will be many more seedlings for next year. Or, you can let the seed pods dry on the plant and collect the seeds to sow where you choose.

Nigella is so lovely—from bud to bloom through seed pod—that I will definitely use it more extensively as a filler between my perennials and let it seed along my garden fence for a repeat performance.

Pale yellow and pink California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are intertwined with the blue nigella flowers. The foliage of the two annuals is similar; seeds were sown at the same time and the annuals blooms together. Perfect spring-blooming partners for narrow spaces.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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