Much to the envy of her neighbours Mrs Crouch grew wonderful bronze fennel in her front garden in Standshonky Street. My brother and I thought she always looked really cool in her scarlet wellies as she busied herself with her shrubs and flowers. Sister Stacy however didn’t seem to like her and when we walked past the low wall to the garden she would whisper loud enough for Crouchy to hear…,’Red shoes no knickers.’ These days when I see a lady with red shoes I always think of bronze Fennel and a lack of underwear but never in that order.
What is Fennel anyway?
Fennel is a hardy perennial, an umbelliferous herb, with feathery leaves and yellow flowers. Though it has naturalised in many other regions it is native to the Mediterranean.
It is highly aromatic and strong in flavour. Along with anise it is a primary ingredient in Absinthe. (The Higgledy Kingdom’s National drink.)
Its swollen root base is used for eating and its seeds are used for flavouring.
How to grow Fennel.
With fennel it’s all about the soil. You simple must dig some organic matter into your soil, ending with a free draining but moisture retentive bed. Without this you are doomed…doomed I tell ye…DOOMED!
Sow your seeds from April to June where the little beauties are to grow. OR you can so under glass in pots from late February and transplant out after hardening off.
Space them out to a little over a foot.
Like all flowers, keep them weed free and never let them get too dry.
How do you use them in the vase Snr. Higgledy?
They are a great foliage filler, adding a softness and a depth of colour to any arrangement.
As regular reader will know I have a very unfussy view on arranging flowers and usually throw them blindfold from twenty feet into a vase. I go for the relaxed cottage garden flowers in a jug on the kitchen table vibe.
I think fennel works with most flowers but especially Barbara Cartland type flouncy numbers…bring in the Cosmos! Cosmos purity works superbly with bronze fennel as do tall cornflowers and luscious larkspurs…
…AND speaking of Cosmos…and we were last night…that chocolate one whose name I can’t remember (please post comment if you can tell me) …is a right little diamond with our feathery friend fennel.
January 16, 2012 @ 1:21 am
Love this. Brings back find memories of going to my grandparents’ house and dipping sliced fennel in olive oil and fresh ground pepper. You’ve inspired me (with undergarments on) to grow some this year. Thanks Mr. Higgledy.
January 15, 2012 @ 10:57 pm
Another plant of weedy significance in these here NZ parts. The wild one isn’t very edible and it would take an awful lot of cosmos to make it all into floral arrangements. Oh well, have to turn it all into absinthe then
top 50 annual flowers for cutting | Higgledy Garden
December 28, 2011 @ 3:41 pm
[…] Foeniculum vulgare. Fennel […]
November 28, 2011 @ 7:21 am
My fennel just grows wild through the garden … and doesn’t seem to need much care! It pops up where it will, I nibble on it on the way past (or chop it down if it gets in the way).
November 28, 2011 @ 5:16 pm
So the poor fennel either gets nibbled or chopped…poor little fella. ;)
November 27, 2011 @ 8:49 am
I never thought of using fennel for flower arrangements, what a beautiful idea: I remember planting my whole front garden as a herb garden and in the corner, a milestone fennel. It got really huge…I never used any for cooking. WIsh I’d used the lot for arrangements.
The wages of wearing no knickers when gardening are legion.
November 27, 2011 @ 1:02 pm
Ha ha ha!!!! Very drol. :) Well, there’s always next season, I’ll be growing plenty at the Higgledy Garden. Let us know how you get on.
Thx for posting. :)