I find it’s always good to have some easy to grow annual flowers ready to pop in the garden. They require little care but are quick to brighten up and fill in any dull spots in the garden! As a bonus they are edible too!

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums with their glorious red, orange or yellow flowers will grow almost anywhere and the bees love them! As well as looking beautiful, they have a long flowering season, right into the autumn and they’re also edible – both the flowers and leaves are great in salads or as a garnish.

Sow them where you want them to flower once frosts have passed. They can be grown as:

Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums

Ground cover – sow the large seeds where you want them to grow for a colourful flower border.
As a climber – sow them at the bottom of some trellising or allow them to clamber up a shrub.
In a planter or hanging basket – just pop a seed into the container for a wonderful flowing display.

Calendula (Marigolds)

These annuals have pretty daisy like flowers and are an easy way to add colour to the garden. I usually sow the seeds into trays in the greenhouse before potting them out but they can be grown directly into the earth where they are to flower.

Calendula
Calendula

The golden flower petals are edible and good to cook with or to colour up salads.

Sunflowers

These are flowers that make a feature in the garden, especially the giant variety. I always loved to grow these in my little garden plot as a child – it’s fascinating watching a tiny seed grow into such a tall plant. Sunflowers do need a sunny and sheltered spot in the garden and I usually start them off in a small pot in the greenhouse but they can be grown straight into the garden. Just watch out for slugs!

Sunflowers
Sunflowers

Once the flower heads die off, don’t forget to collect the edible and healthy seeds! Or leave them over winter for the garden birds to feed on.

Borage

An herb with pretty star shaped blue flowers.

Taste: Similar to cucumber, fresh cool flavour, not overpowering.

Borage
Borage

Use: The open flowers. Add to salads, pastas and fritters. Borage has been used for centuries in cooking.

You can crystallise the flowers and use them as cake decorations.

Chive Flowers

Fluffy shell pink flowers.

Taste: A delicate onion flavour. Use the young pink flowers once they open.

Use: Add to salads and cold soups.

Chive Flowers
Chive Flowers

Courgette Flowers

Bright sunny yellow flowers.

Taste: A soft peppery taste, with a hint of melon.

Use: Add to pasta as a garnish, or deep fry in a light batter.

Courgette Flowers
Courgette Flowers

Day-lilies

A range of colours from crisp white to deep purple.

Taste: The taste is often likened to a cross between green beans and asparagus with a peppery aftertaste.
Use: Add the flowers to salads, rip the petals apart. Chop the unopened flower buds into salads and stir fries, or pasta. You can use in Desserts as the base to Sorbets.

Day-lilies
Day-lilies

Lavender – Rich lavender purple flowers of the English lavender are hard to beat.

Flavour: A rich and heady taste similar to the fragrance.

Use: Add a little to baking such as shortbread, biscuits and muffins, the flavour is very strong, so be careful.

Nasturtiums

Flowers range from bright oranges to clean reds and yellows.

Flavour: A classic peppery taste, with a hint of spice.

Use: Add to omelettes, sandwiches, salads and pastas. Lovely with fish dishes.

Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums

Marigolds

Brilliant yellows and vibrant orange flowers.

Flavour: An Indonesian flavour similar to saffron.

Use: Add to savoury dishes such as risottos, pastas and scrambled eggs.

Marigolds
Marigolds

Pelargoniums

Classic pink and purple flowers are very attractive.

Flavour: Can vary from variety but in general the taste is crisp piney flavour.

Use: Add to jams and jellies for flavour. Use in tossed salads.

Pelargoniums
Pelargoniums

Rosemary

Clean pale and dark blue flowers, very aromatic.

Flavour: A soft rosemary flavour similar to the leaves.

Use: Toss into a fresh salad at the last minute. Pound with sugar and add to a cream or fruit puree.

Rosemary
Rosemary

Rose Petals

A rainbow of colours can be used. Choose smaller flowers, so the petals won’t bruise as much.

Taste: A soft delicate musky flavour, similar to Vanilla.

Use: Add to jams and jellies.

Rose Petals
Rose Petals

Violets

Lavender blue flowers and dainty pink and white look lovely on any plate.

Taste: A fresh carrot type flavour with a rich aroma.

Use: Add to salads, desserts and fruit salads.

Violets
Violets