If you have ever seen the Calendula plant it is a beautiful little marigold, often referred to as the Pot Marigold. The flowers look much more like a sunflower but the Calendula flower only has petals on the fringe or outside of the flower head. Calendula opens around 9 in the morning and begins to close mid afternoon. They grow to about 24 inches and are very hardy. They are a simple addition to any garden.
I love the Calendula flowers for skin care. If you make a macerated oil out of Calendula flowers and Olive Oil for example, the Olive Oil extracts the properties of the flowers. Once your oil is done percolating in a sunny window for 30-60 days, strain the flowers out of the oil and save the oil. Sometimes I add beeswax to the macerated oil to make a salve, paste or balm. Other times, I use the macerated oil straight. I've used it for burns, abrasions, sprains, minor cuts and a myriad of other simple first-aid worthy conditions. It's my first choice for hands that are abraded after making lye soap.
Pick the flowers in the morning after the dampness has left the petals. Spread apart with flowers not touching one another and let dry. You can store these flowers in a mason jar until ready to use.