Common Name: Sweet cicely
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Partial shade
Soil type: Well-drained/light
Time to plant seeds: March to May
Time to divide plants: September to May
Flowering period: May to June
This old cottage garden perennial was traditionally grown near the kitchen door, where its prettily divided fern-like leaves were at hand for sweetening tart fruit. It is airy and graceful in appearance, and yet able to shrug off cold weather and start to grow right at the end of winter. The flowers open early in the year too, and are some of the first available for nectar-loving insects. Cutting down the exhausted flower stems encourages more young growth, but they may be left to ripen the seeds which are used whole in fruit dishes or ground as a spice. This plant prefers a sunny or partially-shady position on well-drained soil. Propagate by seed in autumn or spring.
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