Flowers are not just a pretty face. They are actually so much more. When we think of ‘farming’, vegetables immediately come to mind. Or livestock. Even fresh eggs. But there is one aspect of farming that isn’t always considered, and that is flowers.
Flowers have Pretty Faces – and are Dual Purpose!
Flowers are beautiful. The array of sizes, shapes, colors, scents and use is unlimited. I have a preference for the simple ones – daisies, zinnias, and sunflowers, but there isn’t a one that I don’t love and admire. And each flower usually has a dual purpose. Take for instance:
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Black Oil Sunflower
Have you ever seen a field of sunflowers? It is one of the most beautiful scenes in nature. Black oil sunflowers can grow 5’ to 7’ tall, and make a perfect backdrop for any garden, or a border along an outbuilding or fence.
Not only are they beautiful, but they are an excellent source of food for bees and songbirds. Sunflowers are also used in chicken feed. Better yet, once dried and roasted, they make a perfect snack for people.
If you just want a garden with a beautiful mixture of sunflowers, they come in all sizes and shapes. Try blending your larger ones with Lemon Queen, Dwarf Sungold and Red Sun!
Zinnias – One of My Favorite Flowers:
When I think of flowers and a pretty face, Zinnias come to mind. These are my favorite.
When we lived in the city, there was a small 3’x3’ section of bare dirt in a sea of concrete by our patio. The Country Boy dug it up and planted zinnias in it as a surprise for me. They grew huge, and were absolutely beautiful.
The best part is that they reseeded themselves, and kept coming back year after year. Fresh cut zinnias make a perfect arrangement for indoors.
Zinnias are also a strong attractor to butterflies and hummingbirds. They are easy to grow, low maintenance, and grow large enough to shade out weeds.
Lavender – An Herb and a Flower
One of my fondest dreams for my farm is a field of lavender. Unfortunately, to do that I would have to sacrifice hay pasture.
So instead, I am planting a few in a flowerbed. Lavender is an excellent source for aromatherapy. It helps relax you and helps to improve your sleep.
You can use it in sachets and laundry detergents to help keep clothing and closets smelling fresh. Most frequently it is used in bath and body products. (Here’s a quick and easy way to make your own Lavender Mint Bath Salts.)
Marigolds are sweet flowers who do double duty. Not only are they colorful, but they are excellent companion plants for your garden. They deter beetles in your watermelons, and nematodes in your tomatoes.
They also send rabbits running, as those cute bunnies don’t like the scent.
Marigolds are also used as a dye plant. When used on linen or cotton, you get a light yellow color. If iron is added, then the color turns to olive green.
Flowers with a Pretty Face? Or Herbs?
Lemon Balm a favorite, not only with butterflies, but also with tea drinkers.
It is classified as an herb, but with the beautiful blooms is can slip right on in to the flower category. There is a lemony flavor, and the gorgeous color is attractive to our lacey winged friends.
‘More than Just a Pretty Face’ REALLY applies to Nasturtiums!
Tropaeolaceae species, that is. This species of Nasturtiums are one of the most multi-purpose flowers in a garden! These low growing plants add a bright pop of yellow, red and orange to a garden.
When harvested, they can do the same to any salad, as they are edible. They are high in Vitamin C and beta carotene.
But you don’t have to stop there. Nasturtiums are also considered a medicinal plant that will aid in coughs, bronchitis and other illnesses – including hair loss! (Please! Before using any plant for medicinal purposes, know how to process them and check with your physician before use!)
Flowers are not just a pretty face. They are beneficial in so many ways. When you think of starting a garden, always check and see what flowers will also compliment and benefit those vegetables you are planting.
Need a screen? Plant a few rows of sunflowers. Just love fresh flowers? A flower bed adds plenty of beauty to curb appeal as well as a touch of freshness to the table.
No matter what type you plant, you will always have a refreshing sight and smell to come home to!
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All of the flowers in this post are available at Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. I love the seeds I have gotten from her, and can’t wait to order more.
Mary has a wide selection of flower, fruit, vegetable, and herb seeds; and if you are searching for a great gift for a gardener, Mary has you covered!
Flowers are beautiful, but don’t forget about planting vegetables, too!