No 1: Calendula

1. CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis)


Folklore 2,3,5


Calendula (pot marigold) was used by the ancient Egyptians to rejuvenate the skin; known as one of the classic skin herbs. It is regaled as a flower of love and used in  love potions, as well as in dyes, butters and as a golden winter flavouring for casseroles. The petals are known as 'poor man's saffron'. In the Middle Ages, a bag containing a wolf's tooth and calendula petals wrapped in a bay leaf under a pillow enabled one to see night intruders. During the American Civil War and World War 1, wounds were treated with calendula.


Gardening Tips 2,3 


Any soil type except waterlogged soil, in a sunny location such as a rock garden with mints and other low-growing herbs. Plant seeds directly, then later thin out to 10 cm apart, or grow in pots. Allow to seed, and your plants should happily self-sow. Pick flowers with the stem attached just as they fully open, on a dry day after any morning dew has dissipated. Leave the flowers for 1/2 hour for easier petal removal. Collect seed into paper bags or envelopes once they are ripe and brown, then remove seed heads from plants to encourage more blooms. Store seeds in the paper until re-sown. Dry calendula by hanging the stems upside down from a rack so they don't touch each other, ensuring good air flow to quikly eradicate moisture and avoid moulds. Once dry, store in a dark airtight container. To dry petals, spread on paper in a dark warm place, then into a dark airtight container


Household Uses


Fresh flowers in a shallow bowl of water with floating candles for a unique table decoration
Tussie mussies are herbal posies. Combine calendula with dill, fennel, mints, rue and tansy, for example

Plant calendula in a strawberry container with strawberries, marjoram and mints
Use pots-pourri in clothing sachets to repel moths and silverfish in your wardrobes and drawers



Marjoram, Mint and Calendula Pot-pourri
2 ½ cups dried marjoram leaves and calendula petals
2 ½ cups dried lemon balm and mint  
¼ cup dried lavender      
2 tbs dried rosemar y    
2 tbs orris root (preservative)      
½ cinnamon stick      
1 strip dried lemon peel (not glace) 
½ tsp cloves   
½ tsp grated nutmeg       
3 drops rose geranium essential oil   
2 drops lemon essential oil    
1 drop peppermint essential oil 
Dried calendula flowers and mint leaves for decoration

Golden Calendula Pot-pourri3
2 ½ cups any dried yellow & orange flowers

1 ¼ cups dried calendula petals
2 tbs dried marjoram and thyme
2 tbs orris root (preservative)
2 tsp dried cinnamon
2 broken up cinnamon sticks
4 tbs chopped dried lemon and orange peel (not glace)
4 drops calendula essential oil (can use old oils over 1 year old)
2 drops orange essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil
Dried calendula flowers
2 each dried orange and lemon slices (not glace)



Sprinkle petals in a mixed salad for added colour and carotenoids (vitamin A precursors)3

Add 2 tbs fresh calendula flowers to your favourite casserole before baking2,3

Use organic ingredients where possible for food purity and nutrient density

Calendula Rolls 3
1 tsp sugar                                     

½ cup tepid milk                            

½ tsp active dry yeast                     

2 cups bread flour                          

1 tsp salt                                        
4 tbs butter or olive oil                  

1 tbs packed calendula petals       
2 beaten eggs                               

Calendula petals for decoration

Dissolve sugar in milk, sprinkle yeast over, leave until it froths
Combine flour and salt, then rub in the butter/stir in oil

Add calendula petals, then milk and ½ the beaten eggs

Mix until a smooth dough forms, adding more milk if required

Place on a floured board, cover with baking paper and leave
to prove in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Knead lightly, then cut into 12 pieces, shaping each into a roll

Place in rows on a baking sheet, return to the warm
location (such as on an open oven door; with oven at 1000C),  and leave to rise for 20 mins.
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle calendula petals on top.

Bake in (preheated) 4250 C oven for 15 minutes or until rolls sound
hollow when tapped.

Calendula Cheese
125g grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup ricotta or goat cheese (or 50:50)
3 tbs calendula petals
Extra calendula petals for garnishing

Cobine cheeses and calendula petals, then chill in fridge. Shape into small rounds and roll in garnishing calendula petals.
Can add mint leaves to the cheeses for added flavour

Tagliatelle with Calendula Sauce
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large onion, quartered
4 tsp calendula petals
2 large carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf

125g butter
3/4 cup wholegrain or buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
Sea salt, black pepper
500g tagliatelle verde (spinach flavour) - try spelt or kamut

Place milk, onion, calendula petals, carrots and bay leaf in a saucepan
Cover and simmer gently for 10 mins or until carrots are soft
Pour through a sieve into a jug, reserving the carrot and onion pieces
Melt butter in a pan, add flour and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring until smooth
Gradually add the flavoured milk and simmer 2 mins, stirring constantly
Blitz/mash carrot and onion and add to the sauce
Fold in cheese and season to taste
Cook tagliatelle in boiling salted water until al dente
Drain, stir in sauce and serve topped with parsley and spring onion curls

Home Beauty
Calendula Cream
1 tbs vegetable emulsifying wax
50-60 ml infused calendula oil
10 ml calendula tincture
90 ml spring water
1 tsp borax

Melt emulsifying wax and calendula oil
Combine calendula tincture and water; stir in borax
**Heat water mixture to the same temperature as the oil/wax mixture
Slowly add the water component to the oil phase, stirring to maintain the emulsion until it cools to room temperature, then place in a clean jar
Store in the fridge

This cream is astringent, antimicrobial and antifungal, reducing scarring and enhancing wound healing. It is suitable for alleviation of eczema, dermatitis, nappy rash, dry skin, thrush, cold sores, wounds, varicose veins, blood noses, ulcers, chilblains, conunctivitis and scars

Bitter principles including calendin, triterpenoid saponins, sterols, mucilage, carotenoids, essential oil, resin and flavonoids
Vitamins A and C


1. Adams, J & Tan, E, 1999, Herbal Manufacturing, NMI TAFE Printers, Melbourne
2. Bremness, L, 1993, The Complete Book of Herbs, DK, Australia
3. Evans, H, 1996, Marjoram, Mint & Marigold, JG Press Inc, USA

4. Fisher, C & Painter, G, 1996, Materia Medica of Western Herbs for the Southern
Self-published, NZ

5. Scott, K & L, 1998, Natural Home Pharmacy, New Holland (Publishers) Ltd, London
6. Stubbin, C, 2005, Do It Yourself Pure Plant Skin Care, ICHA, Australia

Calendula has so many uses - only a fraction of them have been mentioned here. Research this lovely herb, to find what else you can do with it. Note that you need the correct variety; many nurseries refer to Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lucida) as Marigold. You need Pot or English Marigold (Calendula officinalis). Tagetes has a finer, ferny leaf, quite unlike the larger Calendula leaf

Catering Quantities

OK – you need to cater for 20 or more people! Naturally, everything depends on what the event is, and for whom. Is it a kids’ birthday party? Teen sleepover? Cocktail party? Wedding? Picnic? Here are some tips to help you with quantities needed. Generally allow 500-750g food pp (per person).

Kids: Finger food

Watermelon, grapes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, rainbow chips, chicken strips, tiger bread, animal biscuits


Teens:   HUNGRY!!!!Finger food again; also hot/spicy

Pizza, fruit as above including mano, wraps, dolmades, fetta triangles, nuts, olives, dips, dukkah, curries, pasta, roasts, salads, cheese/fruit platters, BBQs, sushi, dipping sauces (sweet/savoury), paper-baked whole fish, prawns, lentil burgers, rainbow chips, lots of bread/rolls, wraps

Adults: All foods but presentation and integrity crucial; chef quality

Can even do dukkah with balsamic vinegar/olive oil/ciabatta then omelettes aux fines herbes and Provencal salad with berries in champagne or Pernod to follow if not many people, as omelettes need to be cooked individually

Elderly: Finger/plated food; chewing more difficult

Sandwiches, dolmades, fetta triangles, dips, roasts, BBQs, chicken, salads, bread/rolls, wraps, well-cooked veges, mashed veges, shwarma, lentil burgers, sushi, fruit salads/platters, fruit cake, apple cake (men love it), stewed and poached fruit



Make as much as you can beforehand – you want to be with your guests, not be a galley slave

Freeze prepared dishes eg lasagnes/pasta/casseroles; thaw on the day

Borrow a friend’s fridge or fridge space if you can; otherwise half-fill bins or the trough with ice for drinks

Have plenty of iced water on hand – cordial is unnecessary, Limit fruit juices, and make them into cordials, due to high sugar content

Buffets lighten the work load; let everyone help themselves

Delegate at cocktail parties – get others to hand around goodies, and reserve a table for them

As mentioned below, make hors d’oeuvres bite size if you can; guests don’t want their lipstick spoilt too early, or have contents dribbling down chins

Men love hanging around the BBQ; get out the bubbly with the girls, give them a beer and leave them to it

Themes are great fun eg international, historical, fantasy

Above all, ENJOY the event!

Hors d'oeuvres; 12 pp 1st hour; 6/hr after that; 6-8 pre-dinner
Food platters:   Medium serves 7-10; large 12-15
Salads:              1 head lettuce/6 people; 1/2 tomato pp
                        2L salad dressing & 15 heads lettuce/100 people
Soup:                250 ml/serve
Entrees:            50g protein pp
Mains:               100g protein pp; 125g raw green veges; 100g raw root veges; 1 kg cabbage/6            

Sandwiches:      20 slices/loaf; allow 3 slices pp
Wraps:              Allow 1 1/2 pp
Canned fish:     100g pp
Milk:                300 ml pp
Sugar:              1 kg/120 cups
Tea:                  5 teabags/litre
Coffee:            100g instant/58 cups
Hot Choc:         500g/28 mugs
Wine:               7 glasses/bottle
Rice:                50g/serve
Pasta:              50g/serve; sauce 520g/4; Parmesan 250g/10
Potatoes:         Mashed 6 kg/50 serves; other 100g pp
Marg/butter;   1 kg/10 loaves bread
Sausages:        Thick 12/kg; thin 15/kg
Bacon:            12 rashers/500g
Porridge:         70g/serve
Fruit:               Fresh 2 pieces pp; stewed 125g pp
Apples:            Small 8/kg; large 6/kg
Oranges:         114/case
Bananas:         7/kg
Chicken wings: 2-4 pp
Dolmades:       2-3 pp
Jam/pickles:   1 jar/10 people

Afternoon tea at the Windsor, but similar results can be achieved in your home - just do it!