Category

Garden

Food & Drink, Garden, Home and Garden

Guide to Edible Flowers

guide to edible flowers
guide to edible flowers

I’ve got a great guide to edible flowers for you today!

If you’ve been reading Moral Fibres semi-regularly then you’ll know that I’m into foraging.  From nettles to elderflowers and elderberries, to sloes and blackberries and everything in between, it’s becoming a bit of a passion of mine.  Free food – what’s not to love about it?!

Whilst reading about foraging online (as you do!) I came across this handy guide to edible flowers on the blog Illustrated Bites.  Illustrated Bites is the creation of US illustrator Heather Diane, and combines her love of food with her love of illustration.  Her recipes and posts use seasonal produce, which is another love of mine.  And although there haven’t been any new posts in a little while, there is a word of a book coming out next year, which is very exciting!

Heather’s guide to edible flowers is a little US-orientated. There aren’t so many hibiscus flowers on our UK shores after all! However, her guide still holds plenty of relevance for anyone living in the northern hemisphere!  Think dandelions, sunflowers, nasturtiums, lilacs, and more, which are all common in the UK.

A Handy Guide to Edible Flowers

edible flowers guide

Were there any edible flower surprises here for you?  I personally had no idea that lilacs are edible.  Also, sunflower petals and buds were a big surprise too!  I must remember this when we grow sunflowers next year!

I have a recipe in my archives for boozy elderflower cordial that is really easy to make, and so delicious. It’s a great place to begin if you’re looking to make a start with edible flowers. I will keep you posted with any other floral recipes that I try – like my pickled cucumbers with fennel flowers recipe.

If you have any recipes for edible flowers then please do also share in the comments below!  Also, do add any other edible flowers that you like to use in your cooking, as I am sure there are heaps more!

Garden, Home and Garden

Wildlife Pond Ideas – Six Beautiful Examples

wildlife pond

Make a splash with these six great wildlife pond ideas for your garden.

One of the easiest ways to help our native wildlife, and to attract wildlife to your garden, is to build a wildlife pond.  Over 70% of natural ponds have been lost from the British countryside in the last 100 years or so. Therefore constructing a simple wildlife pond in your garden can be of crucial importance to threatened species.

frog

We have a tiny wildlife pond – a barrel pond. It’s really more a functional thing for the creatures than frequent our garden rather than a thing of beauty.  However, if you like your garden to look beautiful as well as benefiting wildlife then I’ve found six beautiful wildlife ponds. Whatever your style, they will help attract wildlife to your garden. I’ve even thrown in some tips on how to create your very own wildlife pond!

Six Beautiful Wildlife Pond Ideas

beautiful garden

By Gardenweb user Autumn

wildlife pond

Wikimedia Commons, by user Nowis

wildlife pond

From Gardenweb user joeyb5980

wildlife pond tips

By Bunny Mummy

wildlife pond

From HGTV user catnabarn

wildlife pond idea

By Gardenweb user mamasue

I love that you can create wildlife ponds out of anything, and you can design them to suit your garden and budget.  While I do like the architectural ponds, one of my favourite ones is in fact the one by mamasue.  I love that she’s used some kind of industrial container to create her pond!  I am also partial to the simple barrel pond and the no-nonsense garden pond by Bunny Mummy.

Some Tips to Consider

It’s not simply a case of digging a pond, and wildlife will come. There are several points to consider when creating a wildlife pond in your garden:

Consider Your Position

Try not to site your pond in full shade – wildlife prefer partial shade, and too much sunlight can cause an algal bloom which can deprive your pond of oxygen.

Consider When To Dig and When To Plant

Autumn or winter are good times to dig and build your pond, if you’re not going down the barrel pond route.  Late Spring is the best time to plant it, when the water starts to warm up.

Consider The Design

If you’re digging a pond, ideally you want one side of the pond to have a long shallow slope.  In the summer, when water levels can drop, this creates a vital habitat for insects such as beetles.  It also allows easy access and escape for frogs and toads, and other types of wildlife.

With barrel ponds, it’s crucial to create a way out for wildlife that may have found a way in.  Building up some earth on one side, or placing some rocks in there can really help animals to get out easily.

Consider the Species of Plants You Use

Avoid planting species not native to the UK.  If you’re unsure what to plant then there are lots of specialist nurseries around the UK that can supply native aquatic plants.  Do a web search to find a specialist nursery near you, or you can order plants online dependent on what’s in season.

Avoid Ornamental Fish

Avoid introducing ornamental fish to your pond, such as Goldfish, Koi Carp, Tench, or Orfe. These types of fish are likely to eat the very wildlife you’d be looking to thrive in your pond.

Look Out for Issues

If your pond develops a stagnant odour then it’s probably lacking in oxygen.  Try either planting some more plants in your pond or introducing a pump to get a flow of water.

I think I’ve covered the main points, but there are so many tips out there for creating ponds!  Do you have any tips I’ve missed that you want to add to this list? And do also check out more of my sustainable garden ideas.