Monday, July 23, 2007

I was rooked

I planted some "Love in a Mist" Nigella damascena several years ago at our old townhouse and loved the airy look of them. They readily re-seeded so they came up every year without replanting.

I was looking at some flower seeds on a Burpee rack and came upon some Nigella seeds that looked interesting. I wanted to recreate the look we had at the townhouse so I bought the seeds. I think the label said it was a "chocolate" Nigella. What came up was nothing like the pictures on the package if I remember correctly - I threw the package away. I went to the Burpee online seed catalog and I noticed they don't sell this seed anymore...I wonder why?

I think this is the herb Nigella sativa that they packaged and sold as a new variety of Nigella - see image from the site only with dark brown styles rather than green. It does have an interesting blue line circling the flower near the base of the bloom like someone had inscribed a line with a ballpoint pen but that hardly makes up for a rather lackluster flower.

Anyway it was definitely not the lovely "Love in the Mist" I had planted before and I was sorely disappointed. Cheez, I expected a little better from Burpee. I guess I can collect the seeds and see if I can use it as a herb/spice. I should use it in place of kalonji seeds and mix it in with some basmati rice to make my version of a vegetarian biryani rice.

Here's more interesting information from the Wikipedia site.


Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Isn't it funny how expectations can color things, Ki? I think that those flowers are quite lovely and unusual... but I can see how they would not suffice if you were looking for the elegant blue version instead.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kim, You are more clear thinking than I am. The flower did not live up to my expectation so I'm trashing the plant. I guess I'm miffed at Burpee for selling a rather common herb and transferring my resentment to the blameless flower. I could have just planted some seeds I had in the cupboard as some other blogger did and have gotten the same look except for the dark styles.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I kind of feel the same way about the Nigella hispanica I bought from Select Seeds. It germinated poorly and grew poorly. I might give it another chance, but I like the N. damascena much better.

I was going to say that you could let it go to seed and cook with it, but it looks like you've already got that covered. We used to buy Afghan bread topped with nigella seed, but for some reason now we can only find it topped with sesame seed. I really liked the nigella version.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Entangled, I feel as if I were duped. I ended up with only 4 plants out of the whole packet and you can see how scraggly they are.
Those bread makers probably switched to sesame seeds to accommodate the U.S. palate. It's a shame that everything becomes so homogenized but that's the reality of the market I suppose.

6:07 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

I dunno....I like that flower, but I get why you're unhappy. Last year I bought a plant called "Fantasy Monarda" from Dutch Gardens...turns out it's just horsemint! Oh well, live and learn.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Hi, Stopping by from Garden Voices. Last year I bought seed call "Cottage Red Marigold" from Burpee. The flowers are red for a short time after they bloom and then turn all different combinations of orange/red/yellow. I felt a little cheated.... so I know how you feel.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Lisa and Connie,
I think the purveyors of plants and seeds are getting a little too creative for their own good. I'm sure there will be a backlash from people who feel cheated. I know I will buy my seed from a better source next time.

7:13 PM  
Blogger kate said...

That is upsetting ... when we anticipate growing one thing and then another shows up, argh! I imagine they have had complaints about this and have pulled the seeds. Burpee's, I thought, is supposed to be a reputable seed company. It's surprising, too, because usually Nigella germinates well. Next year will be better!!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
Yes, next year will be better! That's the wonderful thing about gardening. There are always new plants to learn about and old ones to cherish.

4:50 AM  

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