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Nigella damascena 'Moody Blues'

Love in a Mist

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Nigella damascena 'Moody Blues'

Love in a Mist

Availability: In stock

Packet Size:1 gram
Average Seed Count:750 Seeds


Nigella damascena 'Moody Blues' is a beautiful double flowered variety that produces blooms in many shades of blue - right through the spectrum, sky blue to deep midnight blue.
The plants earn their common name of 'Love-in-a-Mist' from the tangle of ferny, fennel like foliage that forms a mist around the flowers. In addition to their use as a good cut-flower, the foliage makes a good ‘filler’ for any vase. After flowering, the plants produce unusual seed pods that can be used in fresh or dried arrangements.

Nigella is ridiculously easy to grow. A hardy annual, it can be sown early in spring or sown directly where it is to flower. Sowing to flowering takes just three months. They bloom throughout summer, from July through to October and in cool summer climates, additional sowings can be done every 3 to 4 weeks until mid-summer.
The 4 to 5cm (2in) flowers grow to around 90cm (32in) tall, and stand above attractive feathery foliage. They make a splendid addition to mixed beds and border displays and the flowers attract and feed bees as well as other beneficial insects.
Nigella is such a delight when it takes naturally to your garden. By scattering seed about in April and leaving the seedlings to compete for a place in the sun, you can give gaps in your border a haze of blue flowers in late summer. When happy, they will continue to self sow and reappear in subsequent seasons.
The flowers are well suited for traditional cottage garden settings or plant in a meadow where the soil is a little on the dry side and not too rich. Once the petals drop, the blossoms transform into little fairy lanterns and, once the seeds have been collected for next year, the seed pods can be dried for winter decorations indoors.

Sowing: Sow direct in late Winter to Spring or in Autumn
Seeds are best sown in short drills 0.5cm (¼in) deep directly where they are to flower. Sow thinly, once temperatures reach around 18°C (68°F). They prefer a sunny open site but will grow in most sites and soils.
Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one annual in the same bed. Sow 1mm (1/8”) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart.
Seeds germinate in approx 21 days. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 23cm (9in) apart by early summer. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.

An early autumn sowing can be made in sheltered areas for earlier flowers the following year. Planted it in the autumn it will send down a taproot and form a rosette of feathery leaves during the winter. As temperatures warm up in Spring, flower stalks shoot up. If it's a dry spring, give it water and it will grow large and erect. Without water it tends to flop over.

Prefers well drained soil enriched with manure or compost ahead of planting. Can be grown on light sandy soils.
Feeding is rarely needed but water well and apply complete plant food as growth begins in the spring.
Deadhead to prolong flowering. Leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted

Cut Flowers: 65 to 70 days to mature, for flowers, and 80 to 85 for pods
For cut flowers, cut the stems in the morning after the dew has dried. Cut when the flowers are fully open because buds will not open after cutting or as the pods are beginning to develop. Harvest seed pods when they are firm to touch.
Cut the stems with a sharp knife about 3cm (1in) from the bottom of a main stem, at an angle of about 45 degrees as this provides a larger exposed area for the uptake of water. Remove all the lower foliage that would be submerged in water.
Fill sterilised a bucket with luke warm water and add warm sugar water. Place the flowers in the bucket and leave over night to condition before using in an arrangement.
To dry the pods, cut while the pods are still green and somewhat fresh. Tie the stems into a bundle and hand upside down to dry. You can cut the seed pods in half to display the interesting seed chamber structure.

Seed Collecting:
Nigella is a very simple plant to collect seed from. Once the bloom fades and falls away the seed pod swells up to a very noticeable size. Wait until the seed pods are dry and you can hear the seeds rattling inside before collecting the pods. Once the plants are dry, pick the largest well formed pods to collect seed from. This helps ensure you have well formed and healthy seed.
The dried seed heads are quite sharp and pulling them apart may hurt your hands, it is often easier to collect the flower stems, cover the seed pod with a paper bag, tie with string and hang them to dry in the garage for a week or two.
The black seeds of Nigella are fairly large, so collecting seed is not a difficult job. A lot of seed is produced by just a few seedheads so you will have more than enough to plant up for the next season. Where happy, they will continue to self sow and reappear in subsequent seasons.

Plant Uses:
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens.

Other Uses:
Seeds of Nigella damascena have been used over the centuries as an aid in digestion and they are also used in cooking. The seeds taste somewhat spicy, some people note a resemblance to nutmeg, and have been used as a condiment and in confectionery, to flavour wines and snuff, and as an expectorant.
They are far less flavourful than those of Nigella sativa, known as black cumin or fennel flower, which has had a greater culinary and medicinal role than N. damascena.
The related Nigella sativa (and not N. damascena) is the source of the spice variously known as Nigella, Kalonji or Black Cumin.

The genus Nigella is native to North Africa and southern Europe. It is one of about twenty species in the genus, all of them annual herbs from the Mediterranean region. Several are cultivated in gardens, and one, Nigella sativa, is grown for its aromatic seeds.

The genus name is taken from the feminine of Latin nigellus, a derivative of Latin niger meaning black.
The species name damascena, means 'from Damascus'. It originates from the area of what would have been Persia, now Syria.
The plant's common name 'Love-in-a-mist' comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It's also called Devil-in-the-Bush. Jack-in-the-green and Lady-in-the-bower. In German, there are comparably poetic names like Jungfer im Grünen (Danish jomfru i det grønne) 'Maiden in the green' or Gretchen im Busch 'Maggie in the bush'.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 1 gram
Average Seed Count 750 Seeds
Family Ranunculaceae
Genus Nigella
Species damascena
Cultivar Moody Blues
Common Name Love in a Mist
Other Language Names IR. Nigéal. FR.Cumin Noir
Hardiness Hardy Annual
Flowers Full range of blues - from sky blue through to deep midnight blue
Natural Flower Time Early to Mid Summer
Foliage A unique mist of airy bracts and foliage.
Height 90cm (36in)
Spread 30cm (12in)
Position Prefers a warm sunny spot
Aspect West or South facing. Exposed or Sheltered
Season Matures in 12 to 16 weeks.

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