Pretty and useful


My happy soapwort started from seed last year.

I don’t grow a lot of flowers just because they are pretty – I like them to have a secondary role like drawing in pollinators or feeding my resident hummingbird. Cosmos, sweet peas and nasturtiums I grow out of nostalgia as my parents grew them when I was a kid.

Last year, when I was pondering what to start from seed, soapwort intrigued me. I had no idea what the flower looked like, but the idea that a soap could be made from a plant hooked me. I’ve made soap in the past, but it’s a bit of a chore that I can’t be bothered with right now. Soapwort contains the same cleaning compounds as soap and sounds much quicker to make in a zombie apocalypse when I can’t get to the store. Apparently, one can even make shampoo from this plant.

This spring my soapwort bloomed and I was surprised at how pretty it is and it has been blooming constantly for a month. Even though it isn’t edible, this perennial is going into my¬†embryonic food forest. Apparently it tolerates a bit of shade and neglect and becomes a nice ground cover (with a slight risk of taking over).


Soapwort flower close-up