There’s a new herbal flower growing in my garden that makes my heart happy. Calendula, sometimes known as pot marigold, signifies sacred affections, joy, grief and remembrance. With such a wide range of emotions, there are countless reasons to include it in your garden landscape design.
With hues from golden to apricot, deep yellow and bright orange, calendula flowers are eye-catching in any setting. An early morning walk in the garden will tempt you to take a handful of clippings for a lovely bouquet or gather up the flowers for some edible delicacies.
Growing calendulas is quite simple. Plant seeds in good garden soil, keeping the ground moist until the plants appear. If planted in late summer or early fall, there’s a good chance that they will produce flowers from spring into summer. Some years it might flower almost year-round.
My calendula plants were put in the ground in mid fall, started blooming in February and are continuing to produce new buds weekly. The flowers are harvested often to use in cut arrangements and for ingredients in butter, cookies, cornbread, quiche and a scrumptious calendula cake. They can also be sprinkled on soups, pasta, rice dishes and salads. The Raincatcher’s volunteers recently sampled calendula quiche. The recipe is given below.
In the vegetable or herb garden, calendulas encourage pollinators and other beneficial insects. If you’re looking for a plant that flourishes in cooler weather, blooms often and is easy to maintain, give this versatile herb a sunny location in your garden.
3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup (6 ounces) soft goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup calendula petals (from about 20 flowers)
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Liberally butter a 9-inch pie pan.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook spinach in olive oil until the leaves are fully wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain.
Whisk eggs and cream together. Add goat cheese, calendula petals and salt and whisk again.
Arrange spinach in the bottom of the prepared pie plate and pour egg mixture over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the custard is set in the center and the top is golden brown.
*Option: If you prefer, follow directions for the ingredients but pour into a prebaked pie crust.
Yield: One 9-inch Quiche
As in true Texas style, we suggest a few drops of Tabasco sauce on each slice for extra zing.
Photos by Linda and Starla Willis
Click here to learn how to pronounce Calendula correctly.