June 23, 2017

Sweet Scabious

Scabiosa seed packet from D. Landreth Seed Co.

Scabiosa seed packet from D. Landreth Seed Co.

This European native started to make inroads into the gardening world during the Renaissance and found its way to America with the colonists in the 1600s. According to D. Landreth Seed Co., the oldest seed company in America with its start in 1784, there was an ad in the The Boston Evening Post selling seed for “sweet scabus” in 1760. Known today as the pincushion flower, Scabiosa was used as a medicinal plant centuries ago and it is from that whence its name originates: The plant was used to treat scabies. You can get seeds for Scabiosa at many seed companies, but at D. Landreth, it can be bought singly or as part of the Victorian Cottage Garden collection, arriving in a ribbon-tied cloth bag along with calendula, blue lace flower and sweet pea seeds. With the seed company’s more than two centuries of seed sales, they’ve seen more trends come and go than we can shake a rake at. Just think, D. Landreth was around before there was a cottage garden concept, which came about in the late 1800s, about a century after the business was founded. That’s sweet.