At Newlina Eco-Gardens this week our edible Chinese chrysanthemum plants are going into flower in the poly-tunnels like many little bright yellow and white suns. Outside they would not usually flower until July but of course everything is much earlier in the poly-tunnels. Also called Chop-suey greens, the leaves have been a juicy addition to our Stir Fry Packs over the past months. They also feature as a salad leaf and we are planting more out so they should return soon as a leaf. With their fresh, floral taste they contrast with the peppery mustard leaves and rocket and give a great deal of nutrition too.
Next week the chrysanthemum flowers will be in our salad packs. We usually take the sweet petals off the flowers as the centres are quite bitter.
These flowers are in the daisy family, as are the non-edible chrysanthemum- which can be guessed when you see the sun-shaped flowers. They are native to East Asia and to the Mediterranean but seem well suited to our well-drained soil and warm poly-tunnels. They do not do so well outside since they are not keen on the wet! The Chinese use them in their traditional medicine for many different cures.
The bees have been loving the easily accessible source of pollen before they are harvested. Of course we always leave some flowers for them to return to and pollinate. It’s also nice to have them there for our sake to brighten the Cornish summer even when the sun does not shine and it feels more like November like it has this week!!!