I’ve tried growing all sorts of flowers as companion plants in and near my kitchen garden. Calendula, Calendula officinalis, remains my go-to plant. They’re easy to grow and the flowers are edible as well as healing when used in salves, oils and other herbal remedies.
But there are others. The delicate blue, cucumber tasting flowers of borage, Borago officinalis, are lovely. Plant it strategically as it’s prolific self-sower and can take over garden beds. The bees absolutely love it and the blooms and tender greens are edible.
Johnny Jump Ups, Viola tricolor, are also excellent. The kids call the edible blooms “fairy flowers”, they’re so much like garden sprites. Plant them as a ground cover or as a border.
All you need is a handful of seeds to grow your own companion plants, add color and attract beneficial insects. Particularly with these three. They’re hardy in most climates and tolerate transplanting. Move volunteers around where you need them and you’ll have no end to color and blooms.
Now is the time to plant.
Make Your Own Calendula Oil:
- Gently dry the unwashed flowers. A cool to room temperature location out of the sun is best.
- Fill a sterilized jar with dried flowers. (Like with canning, jars can be sterilized by running through a dishwasher.)
- Fill this same jar with oil, up to the brim and be sure there are no remaining air pockets. I’ve used almond oil. It’s light and fragrance free, but not as stable as other oils such as olive oil. Start with olive or jojoba oil.
- Cork or lid the jar.
- Leave in a sunny window for at least one week.
- Strain using muslin cloth to capture the plant material.
- Use topically for dry and irritated skin. Make into a salve using beeswax and other herbal infusions.