Owning an herb farm, I guess it's obvious I love herbs. I was attracted to them for both their fragrance and the fact that they are useful plants. I love to use herbs in cooking and I also appreciate the ornamental qualities. In fact, I love flowers in general - on herbs and also on plants grown solely for ornamental purposes.
Flowers have so much to recommend them. Though they may be missing one trait, they have another to appreciate. I think I can find something to admire in each one. First, I just adore fragrant flowers. Fragrance is such a beautiful, but ephemeral quality. Some of my favorites include dianthus - with its spicy yet sweet scent, lily-of-the-valley (how can such a tiny flower smell so divine,) dame's rocket, stocks and moonflower.
Sometimes it's just the actual beauty of the flower - like the big, pink oriental poppies that bloom in the spring. They're so delicate, with pale petals like tissue surrounding the blue-black center. When they're blooming, I sometimes stand and admire them. And there are a whole host of what I would call the cheerful slowers. Bright orange and yellow calendula flowers also cheer me up. Ditto for Mexican sunflower with its yellow center and bright orange ray petals. I include pansies and johnny-jump-ups in this group - who can resist a flower with a face?
Some blooms have a nice textural quality, like the fuzzy orange-red blooms of emilia or tassel flower and the red, chenille-like tails of love-lies-bleeding. Some flowers are delicately lovely - like bleeding heart, blue flax and tiny black and white nemophila.
I like flowers like calendula, lavender, anise hyssop, joe-pye weed, hyssop and swamp and scarlet milkweeds because they act as host plants and/or nectar sources for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
I like flowers produced by summer bulbs, but I don't goow any except calla lily, since you must dig the bulbs each year. I make an exception for callas, because of their simple, almost architectural quality. So simple and so beautiful.