This is why over the last few years we have grown them in increasing numbers - not just the traditional companions of nasturtiums and calendula but also tulips and daffodils, sweet williams and cornflowers, penstemons and sweet peas, sunflowers and cosmos. A seasonal succession of colour and scent which not only brings untold numbers of bees and butterflies to the plot but also means that I don't have to rely on imported hot-house grown blooms to brighten my home or synthetic fragrances to scent it.
Now what to grow this year? This week was also my birthday and the OH has given me the gift of flower seeds for this year's garden, so to add to my saved seeds of Cosmos, Calendula, Blue Cornflowers and Sweet Williams we now have Candytuft, Sunflowers, Knautia, Black Cornflowers, Didiscus, Sweet Peas, Cerinthe and Scabious all chosen from the wonderful Higgledy Garden website. So it may be dark, cold and white outside but like Leo Lionni's little mouse Frederick I'll dream and tell tales of colours until the light returns and we can begin sowing again.