Yes, dear readers, it is known that this is not a photo of nigella damascena, commonly called love in a mist. But when you see the photo below you will know why this photo leads in to the story. Who would want to click on those winter tortured junipers? But the tale involves not those sad shrubs, but the carpet of green which lies below. In case anyone is interested in the name of the above vision of loveliness, it is orienpet lily, L. ‘Satisfaction’.

In the front of the property, in the middle bed, the one in which the tall pampas grass grew, at the base of these ratty looking gold junipers, note to self get rid of those, there are some kind of tiny green seedlings, holding great promise. What could they be, in such vast quantities?

Here is what they be, offspring of the hundreds, if not more, of the blue flowered love in a mist, nigella damascena.

The original seeds were given to me by the proprietor of the Westfield Herb Farm in Kingsport, TN. Some friends took me to the newly opened business as a birthday surprise , more than fifteen years ago, for a tour of the herbary and tea made from herbs gathered as we viewed the lovely garden by the owner, Pam Butcher.

Shown above, more nigella growing on the hill, with a nice specimen of poppy.

Pam gave me some seeds that she picked on the spot from some mature seed heads, explaining that they had come from her grandmother’s flower garden. They were to be planted soon, as this was the time the seeds were being released from the dried bloom heads in nature. That is always good advice, follow what nature does. Above you may get an idea of how many babies we have here. Few things can grow amid the thick roots of lamb’s ears, stachys byzantina, but the nigella are having no problem.

The nigella are so plentiful here that a photo showcasing their misty outer leaves could not be found in the files. They were not even worthy of their own portrait, being so common. The flowers of the penstemon ‘Husker Red’ and the bright yellow foliage of caryopteris ‘Worchester Gold’ are enhanced by the blue of the nigella along with some salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’.

Thick as blades of grass, everywhere one turns there are the identifiable oval first leaves, followed by the fern like true leaves.

Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’, persian catnip, nepata faassenii, osmanthus Goshiki’, and the needle like foliage of erica darleyensis benefit from the presence of the sweet sky blue nigella.

Here are some a little farther along in their growth, with larger healthy looking fern like foliage. This leaf makes the babies easy to identify, except it looks a little like parsley, but that does not self sow here like it does in other’s gardens (semi, you know who you are).

Surrounded by the white plumes of meadowsweet, filipendula vulgaris, the blue dots add character to the front garden.

Volunteered under rosa ‘Grootendorst Supreme’ with hosta ‘Royal Standard’ and the ever present lamb’s ears.

This is the best shot of only the nigella, and even this one has the daffodil foliage butting in the way. Poor under appreciated nigella. It is just too easy.


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15 Responses to Nigella

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Nigella isn’t so easy for me. However with my new planting bed being clearned as I type I should have another place to try them soon.

  2. brokenbeat says:

    thanks, frances, for the bag of nigella. now, like in faire garden, casa brokenbeat is full of nigella and will remain as such forever. the nigella line has perpetuated.

  3. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve never grown it, but it sure looks pretty—very English garden-y. Is it as true blue as it looks in these photos?

  4. kate says:

    I love Nigella – they are such pretty flowers. They also dry well. I usually grow a few different varieties of them.

  5. Frances says:

    Lisa…keep trying. Once you get it going it is self perpetuating.

    brokenbeat…you are most welcome. It is such a lovely romantic plant.

    Pam..It is blue like the sky, my pitiful photos don’t begin to capture it. The new camera will hopefully do a better job.

    kate…I have just bought some seeds of a variety called ‘Chocolate Sundae’, white with brown centers. Yum!

  6. Jim/ArtofGardening says:

    I love my Love-in-the-Mist too. I like the seed pods as much as the flowers. They look like seed pods collected from another planet.

  7. Muum says:

    We have white and blue nigella. It freely self seeds all over our garden and yard. I love it, but my husband keeps trying to get rid of it. (I don’t worry, because I know he won’t be able to!)

  8. Frances says:

    Jim…I didn’t mention the seed pods because there was no photo to illustrate it. They are wonderful, though, I agree.

  9. Frances says:

    Muum…welcome and thanks for commenting. I am going to see if we can get the white form going here also.

  10. Wurzerl says:

    Hi Frances,
    thank you so much for visiting my blog and for commenting on it. So I could find your very interesting blog with a lovely garden! I’ m sorry that my English isn’t very good, but I try to be better soon!
    I love the nigella but I have some problems. My soil is very hard. Do you know the white new variety with black stamen?
    Have a good time Wurzerl

  11. Frances says:

    Wurzerl…Thank you and welcome. I just bought seeds for a white variety with dark center called Chocolate Sundae, sounds very pretty don’t you think?

  12. chickenpoet says:

    I love the nigella as well. They grow so quickly and withstand the most dry conditions and mine have stayed evergreen through some of our cold temperature drops into the single digits. I can’t wait to have them spread out everywhere. I hope the persian jewel nigella seeds i bought do just as well. Much Love.

  13. Frances says:

    chickenpoet…Thanks. Just leave the seedheads on and they should spread by the wind. The ones I have tried to plant from packets have not done as well for some reason, maybe yours will with your special

  14. semi says:

    yes i hope our white ones survive although i bought more just in case i need a second try. love

  15. Frances says:

    semi…yes, we need some white nigella. We will keep trying until there is

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