You'll probably smell wild garlic before you see it. It grows in early spring and will produce a blanket of white flowers from April to June.
A member of the Allium family, Allium meaning garlic in Latin, it provides a mild garlic taste, whether eaten raw or cooked.
Wild garlic is a wonderful fresh plant for all sorts of recipes and can be especially delicious in pesto or simply just wilted as you would with spinach. Wild garlic can be used in so many dishes and has heath benefits too, including the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stomach upset, and chronic disease, among others. Only pick wild garlic if you have permission and you are absolutely certain that it is wild garlic.
BBC Good food has some tasty, well tested Wild Garlic recipes here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/search/recipes?query=wild+garlic
A hardy perennial, it is one of the first plants to arrive in spring. It is a must in your garden, either potted or in a bed. Mint is used in such a broad variety of products - from cocktails to toothpaste, from dips and sauces to chocolate. There's such a wide variety of different mints used for different things. It is one of the oldest culinary herbs known to mankind, refreshing and zingy flavour and full of health benefits too. Mint can work wonders for digestion especially, mint oil. The active ingredient, menthol, has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can help relieve indigestion and stomach upset. Mint can also be used to treat asthma with its soothing effects and decongestant properties. Mint has so many other heath benefits, it really is a super-food in our eyes.
Check out some BBC Good Food recipes including mint:
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and is actually a member of the mint family. An evergreen herb, it has a fragrant scent all year round. Rosemary is a brilliant pot plant - providing it is well draining and large enough for its long deep roots. When flowering, it produces delicate purple flowers which are also edible! Rosemary is most commonly used as a seasoning, working well in soups and casseroles, salads and with roast dinners.
Not only does it taste good in dishes, it has great health benefits too. Improving digestion and memory, boosting the immune and circulatory system, alleviating muscle pain and promoting hair growth to name but a few.
Why not try growing rosemary in your garden and have a fresh supply of the herb for your meals!
Believe it or not, lavender is also a member of the mint family. Flowering from late spring and summer it's a popular one for bees and other pollinators. Both the flowers and the leaves can be used in culinary cooking, but remember - a little goes a long way!
Lavender pairs well with mint, berries, honey and lemon and works amazingly in baked goods, like shortbread. The best lavender to cook with is English lavender but despite its name it's not actually from England. Lavender was first cultivated in the Mediterranean and Spain.
Lavenders other uses are wide ranging. It is commonly used in aromatherapy for anxiety, stress and insomnia and studies suggest it can also be massaged into the scalp to slow hair loss. Ancient Roman soldiers used its antibacterial qualities to treat stomach upset and other illnesses. On a side note, it can also be dried and kept in your clothes drawers to keep the moths out!
Have a go at including lavender in some of BBC Good Food's recipes:
Wild hibiscus flowers in syrup can add a really fancy, instagrammable touch to a glass of fizz. The flower will begin to open as the bubbles stream off the petals and the syrup creates a beautiful ombre colour effect. You can actually eat the flower - it has a delicious raspberry and rhubarb taste.
BBC Good Food have a brilliant recipe with hibiscus flowers:
Some other common flowers in foods and drinks include;
Elder flower (delish in cordial)
Rose (most notoriously used in Turkish delight)
Sunflower seeds (even better toasted!)
Poppy Seeds (great mixed with lemon zest in a lemon and poppy seed cake)
Tag us on Instagram in any of your favourite recipes with flowers @BunchesofSussex