Edible flowers with Linda Brennan - video transcript

This page is a transcript of the Edible flowers with Linda Brennan video on Council's YouTube channel. The video is just over 6 minutes long. The video was produced for Brisbane Libraries as part of the Sustainable Living Seminars sessions.


>> LINDA: Hi everyone, it's Linda Brennan from Ecobotanica here. You've probably met me at a Brisbane Council Library Sustainability Program but seeing the libraries are closed, today we're going to help you live more sustainably at home by inviting you into my garden, to see some of those fantastic edible flowers we grow here.

And the first one I'd like to introduce you to is this gorgeous one here. This is a Sunflower. They grow beautifully all through the year in our subtropical garden and I'm very happy to have them in the vegetable patch. See how they really attract insects. There are bees hovering around them at any time of the day. I use these for the Sunflower seeds, which are edible but I also use the petals in Sunflower Pesto. It's absolutely delicious. Let me pick one and add it to the basket.

Now, the next one we're going to look at in the garden resembles a Sunflower a little bit but I grow it because the insects love it so much and that is Cosmos. Now, there are a few different Cosmos. There's Cosmos sulphureus, Cosmos bipinnatus and Cosmos cordatus. They're all edible and look at them here. These are some gorgeous pink Cosmos. They're delicious. There's these little sulphureus here, which are yellow and then finally, we also grow these little ones in the garden. They're only small but these are called Cosmos bright lights and all of these flowers are really very popular for people who are doing cake decorating or maybe even putting into toffees or on little cupcakes. They're gorgeous. The petals of these dry very well, so if you'd like to harvest some of them, you can do that and dry them off at a very low temperature where you can use those as a floral confetti later in the year. It's very sweet.

The other thing with the Cosmos is this - the cosmos have a very dry little seed head once the flower's finished and when you crumble them up in your fingers like this, you can either throw them back on the garden where they'll happily grow again for you in another couple of months or you can take those flower heads off and sow them again in the season that you'd like them to grow in. They give you a wonderful floral confection in your garden. They're gorgeous to grow and excellent for insects as well.

If you've got a shady garden, I've got a couple of edible flowers that are perfect for you and the first one is Chinese Lantern or Abutilon. You can grow these in a pot or in the ground and when you use them, you take out the central stamen and you can pipe the centre of that with sweet or savory mousse. It's delicious.

Pentas are a beautiful old-fashioned flower for shady gardens and they'll bloom throughout the year. The great thing about it though, is that they're edible. When you pick a bunch of flowers, which is a little head like this, you get a whole series of tiny stars which look gorgeous on birthday cakes or in salads. The thing to remember though is, if you do want flushes of flowers throughout the year, you need to take off all the dead heads. That stimulates more flowering and a nice bushy plant.

My next favourite edible flowers are these ones. These are called Dianthus and they're related to Carnations. They're also called Pinks and they have a light flavour of clove. They're very popular for little cupcakes and also very popular to take off and dry because the little petals make a beautiful dried flower confetti, which you can use on all sorts of applications, both savory and sweet.

There are two things to remember about these edible flowers and any edible flowers actually. If you would like to have a long season of flowers and you haven't picked all of them to eat, you need to go back and deadhead your flowers. Any flowers that have died, just take those off, throw them into the soil just nearby. Deadheading will extend the flowering season of your edible flowers.

The next thing, is you need to fertilize them. These have had a good feed with manure in the soil before planting. I come through about every two to three weeks and give them a liquid feed of something like a seaweed and fish. And that really keeps them looking vibrant and very floral.

When you grow flowers to eat, it's really important that you grow them organically, which means no fungicides and no artificial fertilizers. You can grow them from seed, as I've done with these violas. They're just about ready to plant out into the garden now, into full sun or part shade. They'll thrive over winter and spring. You can also purchase them in small punnets, like I've done with these Violas. Take off any flowers that are on the plant before you sow them and also wash off the soil before you put it in the ground, and then any artificial fertilizer has been taken away from the roots. And these ones here are Cornflowers. I love growing Cornflowers because they're such a beautiful show in the garden, up to about half a meter tall. These ones are pink, white, and blue. And you will love having them in your desserts, on your cakes and just growing in your garden.

If you've enjoyed today's sustainability talk in my garden, I'm looking forward to seeing you for another one and back at the libraries very soon.


Last updated: 21 July 2020
Topics: libraries