Gardening

Useful flowers in the garden to ward off pests or attract beneficial insects

Today we will talk about beneficial flowers for the orchard and garden . These garden flowers will help attract beneficial insects (pollinators such as bees and other auxiliary fauna) and ward off pests .

It is possible that you are gardening at home  and that until now you have only limited yourself to planting and harvesting vegetables and greens, without stopping to think that there are  useful flowers in the garden that can also be a very good option ! If this is your case, read on and turn your small garden into an even more special space thanks to these flowers in the garden .

Benefits of flowers for the garden

The flowering plants can be very good companions in your organic garden. To begin with, a flower garden provides a unique aesthetic value : the shapes and colors of the flowers will give this space a more cheerful and more beautiful appearance, as well as aromatize the orchard or garden with a mixture of very pleasant smells.

In addition to the sensory aspects, the  associations of flowering plants such as oleander, marigolds or chrysanthemums, with vegetables grown in the organic garden, help us in many aspects related to the care and proper development of horticultural plants. 

Advantages of putting flowers for the garden:

  • Flowers in the garden  limit weeds and keep insects that can become pests in the garden
  • Due to their allelopathic effects and the better use of the land, they attract beneficial auxiliary insects (parasites or predators of pests)
  • They favor pollination  -because the flowers attract pollinating insects-
  • They increase biodiversity , a key aspect in Organic Agriculture .

In addition,  some of these flowering plants have edible petals or parts , so we can enjoy very special flavors using them as condiments or main ingredients in salads, soups, sauces, tortillas … or simply as decorative elements for our dishes. You can read more about this in the post Aromatics in the garden: which ones and why. 

5 Beneficial Flowers for the Orchard or Garden

The best way to keep flowers in the garden throughout the year is to use several species, the more the better, and with different flowering times. Here we will look at some of the best species of flowering plants for the garden .

1. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

It is a shrubby plant widely used as an ornamental in gardens due to the resistance of its leaves and the prolonged white, orange or pink flowering (with flowers from spring until the beginning of the autumn-winter frosts).

You can plant it forming  hedges in the garden or garden or isolated.

Its presence in the orchard is interesting because associated with this plant lives, feeding on it, the yellow aphid (Aphis neeri) ,  which not only does not attack the horticultural and fruit trees of the orchard, but also attracts predators such as ladybugs, lacewing or parasitoids such as wasps of the Aphidiinae family, which in this way will be close to our crops to keep pests at bay.

2. Borage (Borago officinalis)

Annual herbaceous plant with blue, purple or white flowers that last from spring to late summer.

Interesting because it does not need special care and, in addition to beautifying the garden and promoting pollination and biodiversity, it is an edible plant with diuretic, anti-stress and low-calorie properties, which provides vitamins and minerals. The leaves and stems are usually cooked like spinach in scrambled eggs, or they can also be eaten raw in salads, soups … The flowers are used in pastries or drinks.

In addition, associated with tomatoes or pumpkins enhances its flavor.

3. Calendula ( Calendula officinalis)

It is perennial although you can also plant it every year.

Its yellow or orange flowers attract aphid predators. 

In addition to being one of the best-known useful flowers in the garden, this is another of the ornamental plants or plants with edible flowers  : its flowers  can be used in the kitchen as a substitute for saffron (it gives color and flavor) and also in salads.

4. Tagetes ( Tagetes erecta)

With showy and orange annual flowers that appear from summer to autumn, the Tagete reduces up to 90% the nematodes of the earth that can cause diseases in our vegetables thanks to toxic compounds that it releases. It also helps  control the infestation of aphids   and other harmful insects.

You can intersperse the marigolds between the crops or plant it at one end of the terrace or cultivation table.

5. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

They are plants with bright orange flowers, and for that reason in some places this plant is known as “blood flower”.

Nasturtiums are useful flowers in the organic garden that are used for the biological control of pests because, with their smell, they repel pests such as snails and slugs , bed bugs or aphids .

In addition, the flowers and stems of this plant can be eaten raw in salads, or also cooked (in tortillas or grilled) and have a slightly spicy flavor reminiscent of watercress. The seeds are also edible, which, when preserved in vinegar, are consumed as pickles, such as capers.

These are just some, but we can have in the garden an endless number of flowering plants that, at least, will collaborate in pollination and will help us to have a more attractive orchard-garden: basil,  angelica, carnations, nasturtium, comfrey, chrysanthemums, dill, dahlias, fennel, hyssop, lavender, daisies, roses, oregano, rosemary, tansy, thyme …

Do you know other useful flowers in the organic garden ? If so, tell us in the comment thread at the end of the post,

How to use garden flowers

In addition to planting or sowing flowers like the ones we have seen, we can also take advantage of all the functions of the flowers of the horticultural crops that we take care of in our garden.

Edible flowers contribute to the improvement of the aesthetics of dishes and, in addition, provide biologically active substances that are beneficial for health such as antioxidants, vitamins A, C, riboflavin or niacin and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron or potassium.

For example,   the flowers of zucchini or squash, in addition to being large and showy, are  edible. They are widely used in Mexican and Italian cuisine, hence they are also known by their Italian name,  Zucchini . They are used to accompany or as a filling in pasta dishes (like the one in the photo on the right), or cooked in tempura, stuffed with mozzarella, vegetables …

Other garden crops, liléaceas such as onion, garlic or chives have large and showy flowers that will help us to give a more attractive touch to the garden. They are spherical inflorescences of pink, purple or whitish colors.

In addition, these garden flowers are also edible and can be the ideal complement in salads, where they will give a touch of flavor and a very special color.

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