Cornflower or sometimes called Bluebottlesor Basket flower, is known in Latin as Centaurea cyanus.
This is a traditional flower found in many English country gardens. It grows wild in cornfields and edges of meadows.
The Cornflower also has another name - Bachelors-Button. As you can guess from the name this has to do with romance - as Cornflower blooms were worn in bachelors's buttonholes when they went courting to charm thier lady friends. Cornflowers last very well when cut, so the couple could dance the night away and still the little cornflower would sparkle.
They are very easy to grow so are ideal for children to raise from seed.
The flowers are like double daisies that come in shades of blue, pink, purple and white although I prefer the deep blue shades myself - try Blue Boy or look for packets of seeds with mixed colours. They really are very lovely.
Cornflowers are annuals and can grow to 30 inches or 75cm tall.
They do best in a sunny spot but can be grown in part shade as long as they get a good dose of sunshine at some point in the day.
Sow seeds thinly about 1/2" deep into finely raked, moist, warm soil where you want the plants to flower in April or May. Cover lightly with earth and allow a week or two to germinate.
Tall and dwarf cultivars are widely available and both will tolerate dry conditions well.
Grow in massed plantings for best effect.
They look good grown with love-in-a-mist or try red poppies or orange marigolds for striking combinations.
They bloom from late spring into early summer. If the summer heat isn't too bad, they can actually continue to bloom through the end of summer.
They make excellent cut flowers so grow some for a show in the garden and some just for cutting. They are also easy to dry for use in dried flower arrangements.
The flowers were once used to create blue food coloring and also the juice of the flower when mixed with alum was used to make a dye.
Butterflies love these flowers.
Enjoy your garden!