For long a cherished favourite in British gardens
and a native of North Africa and Egypt.
The plant, familiar to all who visit gardens,
is a perennial, treated as an annual.
Of upright growth at first, it tends to a spreading
and decumbent habit, with leafy stems and trusses
of many small yellowish-white flowers of delightful
and pronounced fragrance.
There are a number of garden forms with flowers
of red and yellow; sulphur and golden yellow and
one of orange.
The spikes of these garden varieties are invariably
much larger than those of the type.
Choose a sunny position and well-drained soil,
and sow the seed out-of-doors in April, where
the plants are to bloom.
When a few inches high, the seedlings should be
thinned to four or sex inches apart.
Owing to the fineness of the seeds thin sowing
Mignonette may also be sown in autumn and protected
by cloches if the weather is severe.
The plants will flower earlier than those sown
in the spring.
Propagation is from seed.
The flowering season is from late June to Michaelmas.
Flowers white, reddish brown or yellow, June to
One of the best known of plants grown for scent,
and indispensable in the smallest garden.
It is raised from seed sown in the open ground
in Spring, from the twenty-fifth of March to the
end of May, with slight variations for climate
Mignonette is decidedly capricious in its coming
up; sometimes the most careful and experienced
grower will fail to get a crop, while a plot of
ground which bore Mignonette the year before,
and has been dug over and planted with something
else, will produce some fine self-sown seedlings.
The soil should be made rather firm and smooth,
and should be nicely moist, but not wet, at the
time of sowing; the seed may be scattered rather
thickly over it and covered with a very light
sprinkling of fine compost, just enough to hide
the seed and no more.
If a good plant appears, the bed must be thinned
out early and with rigour.
The plants ought finally to be a foot apart. Small
patches may be sown here and there in mixed borders;
or lines may be used as borderings to beds; or
large plots may be sown in reserve or kitchen
garden borders for cutting and to scent the air.
The true smell of Mignonette, like that of the
Night Stock, can only
be got from large masses of the flowers under
the dew of summer twilight.
Mignonette should be sown where it is to flower.
It is difficult, but not impossible, to transplant
it; the operation should be avoided, if possible,
but if care be taken to keep some soil on the
forky roots and (failing copious rain) water and
shade to be provided, a patchy bed may often be
filled up and some handsome plants produced.
For ordinary garden uses avoid the “Giant”
and “Mammoth” strains of the seed-catalogues,
and choose a good stock of red or yellow of a
humbler class, such as that generally called “Large-flowering”.
Do not expect the massive flower-spikes of the
shops, which are from trained and “pinched”
Good garden soil will grow Mignonette admirably,
but if the ground be heavy or poor, dig well some
time before sowing, and mix in plenty of rotten
and half-rotten feeding material