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Feathery Fennel

I have used fennel as filler with all sorts of flowers and have come up with some really fun arrangements!

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).

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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