Something new in the cutting garden


Over the years I have valued fennel for its yellow flower heads added to bouquets and last year the cutting celery that ran to seed was also useful in bunches so I decided to try something different this year along the same lines.

I had never grown Ridolfia segetum before but an annual with dill-like habit and flowers in golden yellow seemed a good idea. I sowed the seeds in cell trays, with two or three seeds per cell, in March and planted them out in May. Although spindly at first they soon bulked up and although still wispy they have branched well and are now looking good, partnered with white cosmos.

Known in its native Mediterranean as bishop’s weed it is apparently a cornfield weed that prefers heavy soils. Despite some references saying that it is odourless (which it certainly isn’t) it is used medicinally to cure flatulence and to get rid of lice in its homelands as well as in cooking. The leaves are very fine and the flowers are just what you would expect – tiny and arranged in circular clusters, in circular clusters. It can apparently reach 1.2m high but I don’t think mine will get that big but at about 80cm they are just right for cutting and to surround the recently placed and repainted statue and complement her new paintwork perfectly. It is fine enough in habit to mix well with lots of plants and in future I think it would be good with yellow antirrhinums, red poppies, tall orange calendula and blue cornflowers. I will save seeds so I have lots to sow direct next year.

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