This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Nigella damascena. Garden Fennel-flower, Love in a mist, Devil in a Bush.
Cal. nullus. Petala 5. Nectaria 5. trifida, intra corollam. Capsulae 5 connexae.
NIGELLA damascena floribus involucro folioso cinctis. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 506. Sp. Pl. p. 753.
NIGELLA angustifolia, flore majore simplici caeruleo. Bauh. Pin. 145.
The great Spanish Nigella. Park. Parad. p. 287.
Is an annual, and grows wild among the corn in the southern parts of Europe; varies with white and blue flowers, both single and double.
"May be propagated by sowing their seeds upon a bed of light earth, where they are to remain (for they seldom succeed well if transplanted); therefore, in order to have them intermixed among other annual flowers in the borders of the Flower Garden, the seeds should be sown in patches at proper distances: and when the plants come up, they must be thinned where they grow too close, leaving but three or four of them in each patch, observing also to keep them clear from weeds, which is all the culture they require. In July they will produce their flowers, and their seeds will ripen in August.
"The season for sowing these seeds is in March; but if you sow some of them in August, soon after they are ripe, upon a dry soil and in a warm situation, they will abide through the winter, and flower strong the succeeding year; by sowing of the seeds at different times, they may be continued in beauty most parts of the summer." Miller's Gard. Dict. ed. 6. 4to.