Did you know carrot tops were once the height of fashion?

Despite the unbridled chaos, flowers still bloomed
Despite the unbridled chaos, flowers still bloomed

I’m not a great florist, largely due to the fact I’m a terrible flower grower.  My flower garden experiment this year has been ‘interesting’ for want of a flattering word that doesn’t exaggerate too much.  The three biggest flaws in my plans were:

  1. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. The difference between growing flowers and growing vegetables is like speaking foreign languages!
  2. You actually have to pick flowers from a cutting garden, not only to have beautiful flowers indoors, but to encourage more flowers to grow. But they were so pretty there in the garden I couldn’t bring myself to mutilate the plants.
  3. When self-seeded vegetables run rampant through your flower garden they shouldn’t be considered a bonus crop. They are weeds.  Tomatoes and pumpkins can in actual fact be weeds.

Next year will be different.  I will harden up and learn from my mistakes.  Once this dreadful autumn weather stops blowing a gale and dispensing copious raindrops the size of marbles for hours on end, I shall conduct a post mortem on my flower garden to figure out what worked and what didn’t.  I guess I should find out which were annuals and which were perennials too, so I can look forward to a new season of flowers that don’t really need me – or do they?

nasturtium flower
Some flowers don’t need my help. This nasturtium is growing ‘through’ the deck!

But from what I understand, and should really embark on a journey of discovery, once flowers have been grown and picked – just bunging them in a vase or shamefully in a jar doesn’t really do them justice.  They need to be artfully arranged with a degree of skill and care that at the end of the day looks natural and unfussed like they could have been just bunged in there – but not.

And it isn’t just the flowers you need – there is the greenery to go with it all, to set it off without hogging any of the lime light. Flowers are complicated.  Veggies are so much simpler – you grow them, and then eat them – sometimes right there in the garden and no one other than the gardener need know they existed.

However there is often a cross over between the edible and the floral.  A bowl of lemons or artichokes have often been seen in glossy pages promoting a newly refurbished kitchen where there is absolutely no intention whatsoever for them to be eaten – these are for show.  But back on a more practical level – short of creating yet another new garden bed to grow foliage for my flower arranging, I need to look at what I already have.  And even take a leaf out of the pages of history.

Carrot chic...  it was all the rage once
Carrot chic… it was all the rage once…. several centuries ago!

Back in the day – way back in the day in the times of King James the 1st carrot foliage was all the rage.  Not only did they resprout the carrot tops to make a fine display of ferny elegance, they used it to adorn their dresses and hats due to the lace like appearance.  And the reddening shades of the autumn carrots were the most desirable.

I am in the perfect season – the leaves on my carrots are becoming tinged with a ruby glow as we descend towards winter.  Maybe I should stick with what I am good at and just have a vegetable floral effect.  I could even bring back an old trend into popularity.  Join me at the next swanky party with carrot tops in your hat, we would be so fabulously elegant.

carrots in hats
I’m either on the cusp of a fabulous new trend or about to be known as the crazy carrot lady!

Come again soon – the rain just has to stop – I’m going stir crazy.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

17 thoughts on “Did you know carrot tops were once the height of fashion?

  1. That’s funny, I heard that carrot tops are edible. Okra is one of the most beautiful flowers in my option. Gene

    1. Hi Gene. Yes okra has a beautiful flower. In fact many veggies are beautiful enough to stand alone as flowers – but then you miss the opportunity to eat them if you put them in a vase.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Love reading your blogs Sarah. Had a chuckle tonight re Carrots. WOW I can grow Carrots now. In the past many attempt but failure after failure until I tried Carrot Tapes. Best discovery ever and I always have Carrots but I do not wear hats so no adornments for my head.

    1. Thanks Carol. Fabulous news. It is always such a delight to pull out a perfect carrot. We really should get together one day – I won’t make you wear carrots on your head! Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi Virginia. I had just harvested a rather large carrot (579grams) and as it had been the only gardening I’d been able to do in ages I decided to have a bit of fun. They did use the leaves back in the day though – I guess a kind of poor mans lace. Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Sarah, what a delightful post and interesting information about the long ago carrot fascination. I think you look fabulous with carrot top lace in your bonnet….Take care and I hope the rain stops for you and you can get outside.. I’m going crazy here too with all the spring rain…

    Laura ~

    1. Hi Laura. I hope your spring rain eases – it is the most frustrating kind of rain of all!. I shall make hay while the sun shines so to speak as I know my weather isn’t about to improve anytime soon.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. Sarah, we’ve been getting so far, a good day then more rain, and they are calling for minus 5 tonight, do you think I need to cover my radishes that just popped out of the ground?

        Take care and stay warm over there.. from Laura

        1. HI Laura, sorry I missed this comment – your radish should be fine. they are generally quite hardy and like it cold. I hope they survived for you. Cheers Sarah : o )

          1. Sarah, thanking you kindly for your comments, my radishes made it through, my tomatoes were a little perturbed over the chill but made it through too.. have a great week ahead, and stay warm .. take care from Laura

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