NIGELLA (Love-in-a-mist)

Love-in-a-mist aptly describes the misty blue flowers which lie half-hidden within the finely-cut foliage. It has been grown in our garden since Elizabethan times, although nowadays we can grow multicoloured mixtures as well as the traditional cornflower blue. Nigella is easily grown, but for fine bushy plants you should dig compost into the soil before sowing. The dried seed-heads are widely used by flower arrangers.

VARIETIES : The popular species is N. damascene and the usual choice is ‘Miss Jekyll’ ( cornflower blue ) . Try the pale pink ‘Persian Rose’ but ‘Persian Jewels’ is the variety which is gaining in popularity – the flowers are pink, blue, mauve and white. There is a dwarf ( ‘Dwarf Moody Blue’ ) which grows 6 in. high and a grey – leaved species – N. hispenca ( blue flowers, red stamens )

SITE & SOIL : Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PLANT DETAILS : Height 1½ ft. Spacing 9 in. Flowering period July – September.

PROPAGATION : Sow seeds in autumn or early spring where they are to flower. Thin to required spacing.