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Feathery Fennel

bronze fennel

In an effort to prevent it reseeding in my herb garden, I have been cutting the flowers on my bronze fennel like a mad woman. My friend Alice, who knows a lot about herbs, suggested that I do this, and I always take her horticultural advice.

It seems such a waste to throw away these airy blooms, which are similar in design to Queen Anne's Lace. So I have used them as filler with all sorts of flowers and have come up with some really fun arrangements as a byproduct of my compulsion to cut every flower head.

Their neutral tawny-color combines well with any hue. I love them with yellow coreopsis, blue salvia, white- and peach-colored gladioli, black-eyed Susans, even some white hydrangeas. For monochromatic arrangements, I put them with Helianthus ‘multiflorus' and Heliopsis ‘golden glow.' I even tried them with orange marigolds and butterfly weed.

Cutting fennel flowers spurred me on to make so many arrangements, I think my neighbors are sick of my deliveries, but my house smells delicious-just like licorice.

Note: Do not let fennel self -seed or it overtakes the herb garden. Use it as a vegetable (roast the bulbs with other root vegetables such as potatoes), as an herb (using the leaves), or as a spice (using the seeds).

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