October Gift Flower: Calendula

 Dried calendula at a Turin, Italy market September 2016.

Dried calendula at a Turin, Italy market September 2016.

October Gift Flower: Calendula or Pot Marigolds

I had to go to Italy, it seems, to find actual Calendulas. They were dried ones but Calendulas nevertheless. What struck me was how bright the colors were even in dried form.

Commonly called pot marigolds, Calendula officinalis has long been a staple in British cottage gardens. Like traditional marigolds, petals of the calendula flower are used in cooking and were used as yellow coloring in cheeses and butters in centuries past.

When used in stews, broths and salads, petals of the calendula flower add a spicy taste similar to saffron to many dishes.

Flowers and leaves of the calendula may be dried and stored for later use.

In the vegetable garden, calendula draws aphids away from valuable plants.

While uses of calendula plants are diverse, growing calendula in the flower or herb garden is an optimum use of this attractive plant. Calendula plants are frost tolerant and somewhat cold hardy and add long-lasting color and beauty in a flower bed or container. 

Charlotte