Tip: Double-check your species when purchasing from nurseries

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

It happened again. We purchased 4 Calendulas – or pot marigolds – at a local nursery. They are wonderful companion plants for all your garden veggies, helping with insects and other things. Unfortunately, although the 4-inch plants were blooming and looked like Calendula, and were in fact labeled Calendula, they are actually tickseed! Argh!!! Especially now that they are planted ever so precisely where I wanted my Calendula! Calendula officinalis, that is…

This is Tickseed, or Coreopsis
This is Calendula officinalis – Pot Marigold

Last year, when purchasing medicinal plants for our garden, I bought a 1 gallon Valerian plant. I asked the gardener for Valerian. He showed me Valerian. It was labeled Valerian. It turns out that my medicinal Valerian is actually Jupiter’s Beard – or “Centhranthus ruber,” also known as Red Valerian. How was I to know that  Red Valerian was not true medicinal Valerian which is Valeriana officinalis. 


What to Do: Know your plants by scientific name and by sight. I love my Western Garden Book with photos and illustrations by Sunset Publishing – the makers of Sunset Magazine. If I had consulted it before purchase, I would not have this problem!

Tip: Double-check your species when purchasing from nurseries

Companion Planting Recommended Books

With the thousands of books that have been written about gardening, organic gardening, and companion planting, you may find it difficult to choose the right book for you…

We found ourselves in the same situation. Perhaps our choice of books will help you to narrow down your purchase…

For Companion Planting, we purchased the following two books:

  1. Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
  2. Secrets of Companion Planting: Plants That Help, Plants That Hurt

What one book leaves out, the other includes.

Our favorite tip:

Plant Borage! This beautiful plant will re-seed itself for the next year as well. Plant near your tomatoes – they love them! Not only that, borage attract bees which will also come across your tomatoes, peppers and other veggies. Other benefits of borage – the flowers look rather lovely in a vase, providing beautiful filler and added color to floral arrangements.

Borage is also an edible salad green, and the flowers are an anti-depressant! Eduardo Machado, a plant specialist from Uruguay recommends eating 7 flowers a day to keep the blues away. They’re not bad!
Other methods we have used successfully include growing garlic and parsley near your roses…
More photos coming soon – please stay tuned!

    Companion Planting Recommended Books