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Edible Flowers – Kathy Brown's Garden

1. Edible Flower Extravaganzas  

Rose petals

Kathy will demonstrate many ways of using edible flowers, including the use of petals in savoury foods as well as cakes, meringues, ice bowls etc. This will be followed by a hands on session learning to crystallize petals which you can take home. You will then be given a fascinating tour of the garden. This will be followed at 1pm by a floral lunch with savouries, salad and sweet delicacies. You are free to explore the garden after lunch as well if you wish. Kathy’s book The Edible Flower Garden and her recipe cards will be available to purchase.

If you know a group of 15 -25 people who would like to come on their own, please contact Kathy to arrange a special date for their very own Edible Flower Extravaganza afternoon.

The cost is £40 per person. Please contact Kathy for availability.

2. Tuesday Afternoons and Group Visits

On Tuesday afternoons in the summer and for Group Visits, a choice of Kathy’s floral cakes are regularly available including a delicious gluten and dairy free option. 

3. Edible Flower Demonstrations for Groups

Kathy also offers a full edible flower demonstration for Group Visits where the group is 15-28 people.  £6 per person in addition to entrance price etc.

4. Edible Flowers in the Garden

People may not know it, but many gardeners have a rich feast of Edible Flowers in their garden. If they grow one scented rose, a lavender plant, a thyme or mint, borage, rosemary or daylily, then they have the making of drinks, cakes, salads, savoury dishes and floral drinks…and all so simple.

Kathy has been growing and eating primroses and violets since her childhood when even in the 1950s and 60s, her mother would crystallize the petals for their Easter Cake. Then, whilst writing ‘The Edible Flower Garden’, she researched old recipe books in the British Library to discover ways we used flowers in the past. She came across many ideas which were common place in the seventeenth century but are now largely forgotten. They loved to use rose petals, clove scented dianthus, cowslips, marigolds (Calendula officinalis), violets, daisies, etc. Rosemary flowers were another of their great favourites. These were all growing in Europe. From the New World of the Americas came evening primrose, nasturtiums, sunflowers, dahlias, petunias and impatiens while from the East came peonies, water lilies, chrysanthemums and hibiscus to name just a few.

Kathy decided to have a dedicated Edible Flower Border. It is 14m long and filled with scented shrub roses including Rosarie de L’Hay, Gertrude Jekyll, Harlow Carr and Gentle Hermione etc. Around the front there is a fringe of lavenders, dianthus and thymes. Further back, amongst the roses, pineapple mint, bronze fennel, hyssop and rosemary can all be found with sunflowers, evening primrose, sweet cicely, hesperis, phlox, dahlias, daylilies, cornflowers and marigolds vying for space as well. Different chives, sweet woodruff, cowslips fill the back seats with primroses and violets joining them in the spring.  All these flowers can be cropped at will, fragrant and fresh, no chemicals, no air miles.


So this means Kathy has a pantry of living edible flowers for the summer; all good for flavouring oils, vinegars and jellies. Lavender and apple jelly is one of her favourites, but then she makes lavender and lemon drizzle cakes, lavender flapjacks, lavender and gin ice cream and lavender marmalade. There are so many ideas to try, sweet as well as savoury. Stuffed thyme mushrooms are full of flavour; roasted red peppers with sweet cicely has to be one of the best. Lavender chicken is great too, and so is a simple salad with beetroots and nasturtiums! Or how about a cool Pimms on a hot day with borage or mint flowers…. Cheers!!!

Garden Image 041
Roses, borage and day lilies

There was a special insert into BBC’s Gardener’s World when Sarah Raven came to visit and talk about this edible flower border and the use of the flowers in the kitchen! Kathy has given various demonstrations involving edible flowers at Hampton Court RHS Flower Show.

5. Kathy’s Book ‘The Edible Flower Garden’

The Edible Flower Garden

The Edible Flower Garden has been reprinted many times. It has been described as the seminal reference book for the home cook. Signed copies are available on garden open days for £7 or by emailing to info@kathybrownsgarden.com. Her floral recipe cards are also very popular and are available on visits to the garden.