Unwanted flowers

Usually I'm pretty happy to see flowers blooming in my garden. Although foliage is what really makes a garden beautiful (in my opinion), it's also important to add colorful blooms to the mix. Sometimes though, flowers are just not welcome.

For instance, this cilantro. Although I used to hate cilantro, we can't get enough of it now in our house. Unfortunately it bolts (flowers) when it gets too hot. We always seem to get an early hot spell that makes the cold-loving edibles flower too early.


Fortunately, we also love using coriander (the seeds), so seeing this go to flower isn't too devastating.

Besides, I've got several more smaller cilantro plants waiting to be repotted, and there are several volunteers in the area around the deck this year -- which was a nice surprise!

Some other unwelcome flowers in my garden right now:

Pleioblastus fortunei. Bamboo flowers often signal the end of the plant's life.

Fewer flowers than last year, so maybe it will survive.

Minowase white radish. Didn't get to harvest any. I'll try again in the fall.

Chinese cabbage. We ate 2 of the 4 huge heads but couldn't get to these
before they started flowering. I may still see if the leaves are edible.

Broccoli. The rainy days made me miss a few heads.

Mizuna. Delicious, but turns bitter after flowering. Again, I may still give it a try.

Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu' bamboo. Started flowering last year.

'Yunzhu' again. How many years before it dies?
It's just starting to put on some size too.

It's not all bad news -- there are also some welcome flowers too, like the peas:

Well, tomatoes too, but that's a pretty short list. The wanted blooms are in the minority in the veggie garden right now, but that will change in the next few weeks as the heat-loving plants come into their own.

I always feel bad about pulling up the veggies that are flowering, as pollinators love the flowers. So I leave them in place until I absolutely need the space. That's why I get so many volunteers in my veggie beds. Those are usually not unwanted, just growing in the wrong place.

I have to admit that the end of the cool-season crops always gives me mixed feelings. I hate losing plants to bolting, but I also feel some sense of relief -- it means I can stop worrying about slugs or other leaf-eating pests eating my greens now.


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GrowingHabit –   – (May 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM)  

What's your favorite use for the Mizuna? I'm drawing a blank what to do with the acre of it I seem to have. And how on earth did you learn to love cilantro? I can't get past it smelling exactly like the green stinkbugs we have, no matter how many good recipes people tell me they have for that particular herb. I want to like it, but...

Alan  – (May 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM)  

I like Mizuna in salads, and also on sandwiches in place of lettuce. That's about all I've done with it, but it might steam pretty nicely -- lots of greens are very nice that way. Steam or stir fry, mix with some nice noodles (or even just cheap Ramen noodles) and you have a nice little meal.

Cilantro, I don't know. I just started liking it. I don't have those stink bugs to compare to though. :-)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 25, 2011 at 1:34 PM)  

My mother-in-law thinks cilantro tastes like soap. That's why she doesn't like it. To me it tastes like lemon, and I love it.

PolkaDotGaloshes  – (May 26, 2011 at 10:06 AM)  

Oh we love cilantro here too! The smell of it is one of my fave's. Great pic, hope you get to eat it and not just admire its pretty flowers this year =)

Anne McCormack  – (May 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM)  

A really interesting perspective on flowers in this post. I love cilantro myself, but a little goes a long way. Try a small amount in a quesadilll, GrowingHabit.

Cathy and Steve  – (May 26, 2011 at 8:02 PM)  

Hi there,

We love cilantro here too. I add it to tossed salads, salsa, gazpacho, tabouli, meat.... even muffins!

We've had modest luck keeping it from bolting by chopping it back severely (Translation: Harvest it and dry it to use over time)when a heat wave is expected, and watering liberally when it's hot.

I just got Nan Ondra's recent book Foliage from Amazon.com... sounds like it would be a book after your own heart. I'm thoroughly enjoying it!

Cathy in MA

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (July 31, 2012 at 1:39 PM)  

Do you think the Minowase white radish flower is edible? Its very pretty.

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