Love-in-a-mist: Nigella

Nigella is a decorative annual that has been catching my eye at this year’s flower shows. It’s one of many beguiling weapons England’s army of cottage gardeners deploy to (temporarily) gain the upper hand in the war they wage against bare soil in their flower borders. 

Love-in-a-mist’s fine, feathery foliage fascinates me, so I applied a filter to accent both the spikiness and the mistiness. The flowers of this cultivar have a soft, antique, purple-pink colour and a lovely way of fading from dark to cream.

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My heart always turns first to the haunting folk names of plants despite my head knowing that the same name may be used for wildly different flowers around the world. Those who share my weakness for folk names might enjoy this post, where Arthur Lee Jacobson lists several more for Nigella damascena and describes the plant. (Though it’s hard to beat love-in-a-mist as an evocative name, my completely made up folk name is Lords a-leaping as the flowers’ centres look as if tiny legs are trying to get out in every direction.)

Today’s post was inspired by this atmospheric picture of Nigella seed heads shared by Sarah Longes.

32 thoughts on “Love-in-a-mist: Nigella

  1. ourfrenchoasis says:

    I love Nigella, we have lots of it here in France, self seeded it pops up all over the place in our garden, but it is always the same blue colour, I have never had any other colours at all here.

    • susurrus says:

      I wondered if there was a plant really called Lords a-leaping so I’ve just looked it up – it turns out there is a daylily, though I couldn’t find a picture of it.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Excellent photos, Susan. I like your folk name! My nigella self-sows in these colors, a mix I got years ago. The blue has been lost. I need to get a new packet to bring it back, although I enjoy the pinks equally well.

  3. Laurin Lindsey says:

    What a pretty flower…I love all the various shades! Folk names are far more entertaining than Latin.

    • susurrus says:

      You’re right – I am going to submit a portrait to your challenge during the month, but was planning to take more of a purist approach – i.e. it should be one flower or flowering stem with no filter.

      • Heyjude says:

        Purist or not, I don’t mind, all your photos are delicious either way. I am sure you will come up with something a little different from the norm 🙂

  4. biggardenblog says:

    [J+D] Beautiful detail photos! Haven’t seen this for years and years, so would like to put it to the Will-It-Grow-Here-In-Uist test, which – alas! – requires at least three attempts over as many years before deciding either way!

    • susurrus says:

      Good luck! It seems to be a bit of a marmite plant – it either really loves your soil and climate and makes itself completely at home there or it doesn’t!

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