Calendula flowers

Our garden is bursting with Calendula at the moment. I love these flowers, all the different hues and the subtlety of the different petals forms really appeal to me. The bees love them and they are such a useful plant. I told the kids at gardening club that they could eat the petals in salads, they looked at me in disbelief, then proceeded to spent the rest of the session stuffing flowers into their mouths whenever the teacher’s back was turned!

I even like this plant when the flowers are going over and they start to look a little disheveled. They produce so much seed, so its a plant you will only have to buy once and it will pop up in your garden for years to come.

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I collected some petals yesterday and they are drying out now ready to use for calendula oil in a few weeks. What do you use Calendula for? I’d love to try out some new ideas.

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calendula in gardenMy baby boy had trouble with his skin this summer. In the hot and sticky days he got a heat rash that made him itchy and miserable. My good friend Andrea is a Naturopath working in New Zealand and she recommended I try Calendula cream on him. It worked amazingly well and as a natural product, it gets a big tick in my book.

I have been growing Calendula in my garden for a number of years now, I tend to let it self seed in the vegetable beds as I think its such a pretty and cheerful looking flower. I do love a flash of orange in the early autumn days. So I thought I would have a try at making my own products with Calendula and if it works well, I will grow more of it next year for use on the kids and myself.

calendulaI picked lots of flowers on a hot, dry morning and laid them out to dry in a warm place out of direct sunlight. So far the flowers have been drying for a week and I feel they need longer to lose all their moisture. Damp flowers make for potentially mouldy oils, yuk. Soon I will put my flowers into a kilner jar, cover them with olive oil or coconut oil. This then needs to sit in a warm sunny spot for about a month for the properties of the flowers to infuse into the oil. The flowers then get strained out by passing the oil through a muslin. The oil is then ready to use. Calendula is a beautiful and useful plant that definitely earns a place in my garden.