I confess the last two seasons I have spent zero time with the perennial beds around here. It is quite shameful, really, but my pursuit of subsistence farming has been…all-encompassing, let’s just say. I do, however, have some ornamentals growing in the veg garden for their ability to attract polinators. Some of them are even edible. Most self-seed readily: a great thing for someone who tells herself she’s got no time for flowers 😉
Angelica: One evening I counted 16 different insects visiting its flower umbrels. Blue bottle flies, mason bees, honeybees, bumblebees, little gnatty things: all this for something that (to me) smells like gin and tonics. It is huge. This picture doesn’t do it justice: they can get to be 8′ in height and diameter so make sure you have the space for it. Here, it’s growing with potatoes and asparagus. It’s a perennial, and mine’s about 7′ in height.
Calendula: A new thing to me last year, it does self-seed readily. It hates being transplanted but you can if it’s really small. Its flowers are edible and flowers way beyond frost too.
Coreopsis: The orange/yellow kind are rather tall and weedy, but they continue to show up in the garden and I do let them come.
Borage: Plant it once and it will always come back! Luckily its seedlings are easily recognized and can be uprooted easily. It’s prickly, though. I put the flowers in salad. My very first blog post was about borage.
Nasturtiums: Another orange/yellow sprawler, its flowers are likewise edible.
Marigolds, zinnias, snapdragons, stock: I do seed these in a row in early spring and then spread them around the gardens and yards. They stick around, often into late fall, and the old-flower lover in me just adores them.
Man, even writing about flowers makes me tired. I had better stop now.