Chives: if your background is anything close to mine, you first discovered them as a child in their ‘Cheese and-‘ crisp flavouring form, and thought them nothing more than a sort of novelty, maybe slightly fancier version of the Cheese and Onion bags that made your packed lunch box smell kind of gross. Later, probably when you were about eighteen and moved down south for University and made friends with public school boys from Brighton who were both stoners and surprisingly excellent in the kitchen, you discovered that they were in fact one of the ‘fines herbes’ of French cuisine, along with tarragon, chervil and parsley. Later still, after becoming heavily involved with an amazing online flower marketplace, you discovered that beyond their herby qualities, chives also produce beautiful ornamental flowers!
Okay, maybe you didn’t share in that exact journey, but the point is chive flowers really are a sight to behold. Instead of chopping up those scapes and buds, allowing them to blossom into star-shaped purple wonders. They’re dense inflorescences generally made up of 10-30 petals. In fact, chives were likely admired for their aesthetic beauty long before they were cultivated for food – they’ve been around for more than 5,000 years but their culinary properties were only utilised really from the middle ages onwards.
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