I know of only two places to buy nigella flowers, and they're both at Omaha farmers' markets on weekends in summer. I believe that Thai families operate both of the vendor tents that sell them, and something must be lost in the translation every time I try to buy a couple stems of them, because I always end up leaving with gargantuan flower arrangements of which nigella are a minor component. It's a small price to pay, though, to photograph one of my favorite flowers. From bud to blossom to seed, they go through dramatic and varied transformations, and two are seldom alike. They appear forbidding with thorns, but the "needles" are just flimsy leafy projections, and the pointed blue or white or purple petals are translucent and delicate. It's all a beautiful ruse.
Just another reminder that my floral prints will be on display at Lauritzen Gardens for about another month. If you have time, please go take a look.