Chives grow throughout my flower gardens, however there is one bunching burst of green that makes me particularly happy. It grows from a dark pot on the deck and its bobbing, nodding purple flowers offer splats of colour June through August. Like a pair of Camper Shoes, they're pretty and practical in equal measure. Three steps is all it takes me from the kitchen door to the pot. Six steps and I'm back to the stove with a burst of flavour for supper.
The flowers look like a large clover flower, though its colour and fragrance are more poignant. They remind me of the flower Horton found the Who's on; that regularly makes me smile. Close up I can't help wondering aloud to Madi, "Just what else lives on that speck there? And who's to say we aren't floating precariously on a speck of our own?"
Besides stirring some curious existential questions, I find the flowers a nice, mild treat to eat. Like a french marigold you can pop the flower right into your mouth. The texture is a little weird (never mind what all those Who's will do to your bowels), but their flavour is unique from the green bits.
Speaking of the green bits- they can be snipped off at any occasion and added to any dish (no lie!). Not only tasty, as a design element the greenery is a fantastic contrast to many flowers and herbs. People always use those Dracaena-type grasses, however I think that a couple pots with chives as the spiky centre is way more unique and practical. If its harvested around the outside edges in a plant feature, it maintains a nice tall, narrow shape.
My chives come from a couple sources. The first chives I planted were from my friend's mom, since once established they are easily shared. The second group grew from seed sown directly in the garden. They grow back faithfully ever year and each spring I split them and pop the transplants throughout the yard. For me, they flower happily in both part- shade and sunny spots.
With the potted chives, I am pretty lazy at the end of the year. I simply move the pots into the unheated, detached garage where they overwinter. When the spring melt begins, I bring the pot out and watch delighted as my chives reawaken in time to garnish my steak off the BBQ.
To buy garlic chives (with white flowers), check out Salt Spring Seeds where I've bought at least half my seeds the last couple years. Of course, Richters has an incredible selection of chive seeds on pg. 15 of its catalogue. Find it here.