Calendula (or Calendula Officinalis in its Latin form) is a flower that acts as a real ray of sunshine in a garden and that I use in several Green Acre Scent products.
Historically used for medicinal and culinary purposes (such as food colouring!), it is a great addition to any salad, cookie recipe, broth, or tea concoction, providing a spicy taste that is similar to that of saffron.
As an annual, it is quite easy to grow and requires little maintenance. If its bright orange and yellow shades are any indication, the calendula flower loves the sun - but not the heat. It is quite adaptable and can therefore do particularly well in partial shade or full shade. Calendula is a type of marigold often called pot marigold or English marigold that is part of the Asteraceae family which also includes daisies, black-eyed Susans and chamomile.
Lush and colourful
Every year, I grow my plants from seeds that I’ve harvested the previous year. Before sowing into the ground I’m certain that frost is no longer a threat (although calendula is relatively frost-resistant). Indeed, calendula seeds can be sown directly in the ground but I prefer to start them indoors to be able to rely on fresh and beautiful flowers early on in the season. Not only do I add the petals to food and skin care recipes, the flowers are just a lovely sight and a great addition to any ornamental garden, creating the effect of a lush and colourful rug.
Calendula repels a number of harmful insects in the soil, but can attract slugs, especially if it is placed near plants from the Brassica family such as broccoli, cabbage or kale. Planting it next to tomato plants can be helpful.
Deadheaded regularly, this plant can bloom from spring through fall and beyond. In the heat of summer, it sometimes takes a break, only to start blooming again in early fall. In l’Ange-Gardien where the Green Acre Scent garden is located, flowers bloom from May all the way through November.
It’s all about the petals
At Green Acre Scent, products featuring calendula are made with calendula-infused oil. This implies that I handpick flowers directly from the garden within two days of blooming, allowing butterflies and bees to do their due diligence while ensuring I get the freshest flowers possible.
But the work doesn’t stop there. The flowers are put to dry before being hand-plucked one at a time, petal by petal, thus avoiding the loss of pollen. It’s a real labor of love, I’m telling you!
Once this process is over, I use a cold infusion method, macerating the petals in olive or almond oil for up to six weeks. This liquid gold is then strained and the petals are hand-squeezed without the use of equipment to gently extract as much oil as possible, understanding that close to 25% of the liquid typically is absorbed or lost in the process.
Did you say irritated skin or fungus?!
Yep, that’s right. Calendula’s greatest asset is that it is soothing, thanks to its antibacterial, microbial and anti-inflammatory active compound. People with irritated skin or those experiencing eczema absolutely love it, and this is why it appears on the ingredient list of our foot cream and our foot lotion. Fungus can cause the skin to be itchy but calendula can really help alleviate the sensation because of its soothing properties.
With all the summer walks I take, I’m telling you, these are my two best friends at this time of year! Not only do they help me keep my feet healthy, they are absolutely essential to making them look and feel soft after a long hike or barefoot walking in my backyard, when my heels are very dry and prone to cracking.
The foot cream is quite rich; I always recommend you put it on right before bed or that you wear cotton socks for a good hour to help your skin absorb it properly and to avoid slipping and hurting yourself . The peppermint-citrus aroma will put you in a great state of mind and will envelop your room with a nice smell all night long.
The calendula lotion bar is also hydrating but the feeling and smell are different, especially as it contains tea tree oil, which enhances its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is eco-friendly and its metal tin makes it easy to carry anywhere you go, from the gym to the camping ground.
The good news is that you don’t have to make a decision. You can compare the two and decide for yourself how best to use each with our beautiful gift set that contains other goodies as well!
Last but not least, our calendula-chamomile soap is ideal for those with sensitive or irritated skin. Its whole Canadian goat milk content provides nourishment and an extra boost of moisture. Unscented, it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t like strong flowery smells and those fighting eczema.
All in all, whether you use calendula on your plate, in a bouquet, on your skin or in your garden, it is a beautiful multipurpose flower that I find always comes in handy.