Sunday, August 2, 2015


Lots of people seem to think permaculture gardens can't have flowers.
Personally as I've gotten better at garden design I've added more flowers each time.
Some just with the famous companion plants or edible ones like pot marigold or nasturiums.
However much like weeds are just plants not understood or in the wrong space or wrong balance, flowers, like pretty much every plant, have uses if you just think about them and use them.

My car of flowers came from visiting someone and helping remove some plants they didn't want. They are mostly very 'unpermy' flowers without obvious functions other than being pretty, which is a very important function unto itself.

narcissus (daffodils and jonquils), poppies, salvia, lily, iris, rose, boobalia.

Now the obvious use for flowers is insect attraction and repelling. Eg bees, plus the smell of various flowers can help distract destructive insects.

daffodilThe daffodils primary role is being pretty. But they have a special being pretty role. Cows and rabbits are less likely to eat them as they are poisonous. So they can be planted in Zone 4 areas and more easily look after themselves with less fencing.  Similarly they can be planted in the border of more conventional garden beds and help keep the bunnies out. You do need to be careful as the poison can get into root veges so don't plant them next to potatoes.

I love salvias and collect as many of them as I can. Some are edible such as mint or the yummy flowers of the pineapple sage. Some have medicinal uses such as sage. But all have uses, as well as being pretty. :) They are a perennial, good for soil structure and have really long flowering season. They are tough. They grow from cuttings well. Once established they tend not to be eaten by cows and bunnies. They're not very greedy. They cope with frost and dry well. All these tough traits mean they are an excellent shelter plant. I stick them all over the place, even right in the middle of a normal annual vegetable bed, to shelter their neighbours from wind and frost.

Roses have rose hips which make a nice sweet very high vitamin C tea. As well as being spiky and can be used to protect other plants. They also act as good fungus detectors and often have that role in vineyards to warn of threats to the grapes.

Lily is a good plant for wet and dark areas.

The common boobalia I did actually deliberately collect as a fast growing wind break. They also are edible. So pretty standard permy multi-purpose plant here. :)