Week 8: Love lies bleeding

It’s the eighth and final week of Learn the Flowers CSA!  I can’t believe it’s over already.  I appreciate times of transition like these because it keeps me on my toes and prompts me to reflect.  As I look back over the last eight weeks, I am grateful for all that I’ve learned about managing a small-scale flower csa and have noted areas to improve as well as strengths to further develop.  I appreciate the interest and support of you, the members, and am thankful for your enthusiasm and inspirational creativity.  It’s been extremely satisfying to share the flowers that I grow with you and simultaneously teach and learn more about these special plants.  For the last week, there were a couple new appearances and many faithful summer repeats that made it into your bouquet.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the journals and learned something new about flowers that are grown locally.  

 

I’d like to introduce you to the local, fresh flowers that still manage to thrive in the late summer heat and occasional heavy rain:

 

Lily- Large white bloom (may still be closed in a large pod)

 

Dahlia-  Coral/pink bloom with lime/yellow center (pronounced Dahl-ee-ah) AND pink & yellow flower the reminds me of a star burst

 

Cosmos – White, burgundy or pink bloom, yellow center (single, double, or hollow petals)

 

Zinnia- (Persian Carpet) Small-headed, bi-colors in red, mahogany, yellow, chocolate and cream

 

Zinnia (Zinderella Peach)- Pastel orange/salmon variety of zinnia

 

Acidanthera-  Six-petaled, white flower with burst of purple in the center

 

Amaranth- Coppery seeded flower head AND long, pink, hanging seeded flower head

 

Nicotiana- (Bella variety) Multiple flowers on one stem, with a white or pastel pink flat flower that tapers back

into a hollow tube (pronounced ni-ko-she-ah-na)

 

Rudbeckia (Prairie Sun variety)- Large yellow flower with green center

 

Physocarpus (El Diablo variety)-  Dark (mild copper tones) stem of foliage

 

Sedum- Green (starting to turn a faint pink color) flower (a type of succulent)

 

Hydrangea (Pinky Winky variety)- triangular or “panicle”-shaped flower with a thick woody stem.  Some of the lower blossoms on the flower have faded to a deep pink tone

 

For the last journal of the season, I will focus on sedum and amaranth.  I’ll share a couple extra photos with you too…

 

*insert sedum photo

 

Sedum is a type of succulent and is also known by the name of stonecrop.  The sedum in your bouquet has not yet bloomed, but I think it’s very pretty in its green, budding stage.  Like other succulents, it can be propagated by breaking off one of its thick, juicy leaves. Here’s some really nice basic instruction on propagating succulents if you want to give it a try!  This season I moved all the stonecrop from one water-logged bed to a fresh, new raised bed.  It transplanted extremely well and looks great right now in full budding stage. It’s best to divide the plant into smaller plants every few years for one larger, healthier stonecrop. For a few weeks, there were either some bunnies or deer that munched on the new shoots, but they’ve since ceased munching and soon it will be in full bloom!  Stonecrop is also one of my favorite flowers to design with, particularly in the fall because it makes a really nice low foliage in shallow vases and urns.

 

*insert amaranth photo

 

Amaranthus or Amaranth comes in many different varieties as a cut flower.  There are two different varieties in your bouquet.  One is an upright, copper variety and the other variety is pink and low-hanging, dramatically named “Love-lies-bleeding.”  Similarly to millet, amaranth is a nutritious grain and used as a staple in some countries, like Mexico and Peru.  I’ve only eaten Amaranth once and it was extremely thick and sticky.  If anyone knows of any delicious Amaranth recipes, please feel free to share! Seriously, please share because the stated health benefits of this grain are very impressive.  The amount of calcium, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are off the charts! Also, it’s naturally gluten-free.  There is a wild variety of Amaranth that grows as a weed and is referred to as “pigweed”.  It looks very similar to some of the cut flower varieties.  At the farm, we always have problems with bean beetles feasting away at the leaves. So if you happen to find some holes in your flower’s leaves, it’s because the bean beetle appreciates the high nutritious value of amaranth.

 

Now I’d like to share a few extra photos of some other flowers that made it into your bouquet this week!

 

*insert persian carpet zinnia photo

 

Here is a display of the variety of colors in persian carpet zinnias.  It’s such a nice selection especially when you see them all together. They really compliment one another well.

 

*insert peach zinderella photo

 

In a previous journal entry, I mentioned that our Zinderella Zinnias weren’t doing exactly what they should be doing by making a small, inner layer of petals.  Recently, there have been a handful of them that look how they’re supposed to look!  This is a pretty little example of one.

 

So in closing, I’d like to reiterate the happy, good feelings I get when I think about this season’s CSA.  Thanks for choosing to be a part of my ongoing project of supporting local flowers, educating yourself about them, and being open to the inspiration they awaken in you.  I anticipate some changes and improvements in next season’s CSA and will keep you in the loop about all the details!

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