"Hey Pam, the first love-in-a-mist flower is out," I cheerfully called to my darling girl on Friday morning, to which she replied: "It was out yesterday". This is of course not the first time that has happened. She's always first to notice things in our backyard. An artist by training, she's just more observant than I am, I guess. But I'm delighted to see it blooming, even if I am a bit slow off the mark. Growing annual flowers from seed is as much fun as growing vegies from seed. I'm loving it, and that's how I've grown this love-in-a-mist – and best of all, they were free seeds.
There's a couple of different flower colours happening here, as my seeds came from a free packet of Yates Persian Jewels, which is a mixed colour range.
Viewed side-on, you can see the 'mist' of fine green foliage surrounding the flowers. It's this partial covering of the flowers which gives the common name of 'love-in-a-mist'. Botanists call this plant Nigella damascena.
Standing further back to give you an idea of the whole plant, it's a green cloud of very fine foliage. There are flower buds everywhere, but only three flowers are out now. What you're looking at is about six or seven plants, grown in a cluster. They blow about in the slightest wind, reach about 60-70cm tall when standing up, but several have been so bashed about by winds that they have flopped over and are leaning on neighbouring plants, but all are starting to bloom now.
The little flower buds are quite attractive in themselves, and after flowering finishes the large seed pods offer some last-gasp visual interest as well.
I planted my free seeds in early May this year, and so it has taken them six months to slowly progress through all the stages of growth until flowering time now in late October. They haven't been grown in perfect conditions, either. It should have been sunnier but all the sunniest spots were taken. So it has been a good trouper growing and flowering so nicely, despite everything.
I'm actually attracted to the fact it's one of those neglected 'out-of-fashion' plants, an old-style cottage garden plant. I won't grow it every year but I will definitely sprinkle around some more love-in-a-mist seeds again at some stage in the future, as it's a wonderfully pretty and delicate little thing.