The Lakeshore garden boasts a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables that feed customers at the local farmer's market and food banks. However, the plants that are often paid less attention to are the flowers. When people walk through our garden, they usually ask how the crops are doing, and only see the flowers as an aesthetic element that add to the scenery. Unlike most vegetables, flowers can be used in not only cooking, but medicine as well.
The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) earned its name from the fact that it was elected the official state flower of California in 1890. The seeds can be used in cooking, and also contains an aqueous extract that acts as a mild sedative (induces sleep and calmness) and anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) when smoked.
The poppy is a flower with strong symbolism; upon first glance, most people would immediately think of the poppies they wear in honour of remembrance day. The tradition of wearing an artificial poppy for remembrance day is present in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, and South Africa. The idea of wearing an artificial poppy for remembrance day came from the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian John McCrae, and is credited to Moina Michael for starting the tradition. Aside from the poppy's symbolism, it is also used in medicine. It contains morphine, which is a natural painkiller, and its use has been traced back to prehistoric times.
This is the Cosmos flower (above), which is derived from Greek, which means "a balanced universe."
The sunflower is more than meets the eye; it can be used in cooking and medicine, and even in producing clothes. The sunflower can be eaten in multiple ways. The seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, dried, or cooked, and contain protein, calcium, nitrogen, iron, and vitamins A, B, and E. Sunflower oil is also made from this plant, and is a popular vegetable oil used in cooking because of its mild flavour and low levels in saturated fats. The sunflower can also be used in medicine. While it is best to seek professional medical attention, if caught far away from help, this plant can be used to treat snakebites and spider bites. The leaves can also be used in tea to help relieve a fever, lung ailments, or diarrhea. On top of edibility, sunflower plants can be used to make clothes, soaps, candles, dye, and feed for livestock.
The Valerian herb has been used historically as a sedative, antiseptic, anticonvulsant, migraine treatment, and pain reliever, though it is being researched today to confirm its medicinal efficacy.
|Red Admiral Butterfly|
The orange flowers pictured above and below are a type of Calendula (Calendula officinalis), which in Latin means "little calendar." These plants' leaves can be put in salads, however they are most known for their use in medicine. Calendulas can be used to treat acne, reduce inflammation, control bleeding, sooth irritated tissue, dermatitis, and reduce pain.
All photos taken by myself (Madeline Currie)