This week it was lovely and cool for a small window between 6:30-7:30am. By the time 8am hit, it was pretty hot out in the field. Chicory & Jig-Bee tag-teamed to bring you that creamy yellow, gold, and deep plum bouquet. One of my favorite things about running a flower csa that sources from exclusively local farms, is getting to the farms early in the morning and choosing a color palette based on what is blooming and creating a mix of sizes, shapes, and textures. It’s a pretty fun exercise that I get to practice every week! This week I knew the golden-colored crested celosia (the one that looks like brain coral!) would be blooming and wanted to build my palette around that one flower. From there it was easy to pull in the softer yellows leading into the white cosmos. The soft buttery yellow sunflowers with the dark centers were a perfect transitional mix of color between the golds/yellows and the darker rudbeckia & basil. Sometimes I’m just at the mercy of whatever the sun and the rain produced in the field, but I really enjoy choosing the colors and shapes that make it into your bouquet each week.
In your bouquet this week:
Sedum – (or stonecrop)
Rudbeckia (“Sahara”) -( Also known as “Black-eyed Susan”)
This is one of my favorite varieties of Rudbeckia and varies in color from yellow to copper to orange to a deeper maroon. Rudbeckia is great because it’s a long-lasting garden flower blooming and looking beautiful for a long time in the garden as well as a a long-lasting cut flower. Rudbeckias are also known for quickly dirtying any water they sit in. If you take a look at their stems, they have very hairy, prickly stems which seem to contribute to dirty stems/dirty water.
Sunflower – (or Helianthus) All Helianthus are native to North America. One of the Helianthus species includes Jerusalem Artichoke which can sometimes be found at local farmer’s markets, sold as a little pale tuber. (looks like a small, pale sweet potato) Sunflowers exhibit a behavior called heliotropism which is when plants move in the direction of the sun. During heliotropism, certain cells in the stem gather in such a way to cause a bend in the stem so the face of the flower faces the sun. It’s some classic plant magic. If you watch a field of sunflowers growing, you can see during the beginning of their growth how they reach and face the sun. They remain in a heliotropic state during their budding stage and then once they’ve bloomed, they no longer face the sun. (Maybe to help preserve the blooms longer) Some plant magic, right there.
Basil (“Aramato”) – An extremely fragrant variety, this basil is like a tri-combo of basil, mint and licorice. Often farmers will grow this variety for its deep purple/green leaves and delicate purple/white flowers at the top. It’s edible so feel free to spice up your next salad with its colorful flowers and leaves.
Over the winter I started a book called The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man, written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. If you consider yourself a plant dork, plant lover, plant whisperer, or friend to any plant, it’s probably worth it to check it out. So far what I’ve read has been about isolated studies of tracking plant behavior in response to human behavior. The results are pretty wild. The book is basically all about plant sentience. (webster’s definition of sentience: able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste; responsive to or conscious of sense impressions; aware; finely sensitive in perception or feeling) “That plants are able to perceive the surrounding world is a truth as old as the world itself. Without perception, adaptation does not and cannot exist. If plants had no sense organs and didn’t have a means of transmitting and processing information with their own language and memory, they would inevitably perish.”
Of course it makes sense that there has to exist some kind of plant perception for adaptation to take place, but in one of the main studies talked about in the first part of the book, one CIA interrogation specialist in the 1960’s, named Cleve Backster, started a series of experiments on plants using a polygraph. His experiments led to his theory of primary perception where he claimed that plants feel pain and have a form of extrasensory perception. The experiments leading to his primary perception theory were published in the International Journal of Parapsychology in 1968. The overall reaction from the scientific community did not go well, as controlled experiments to repeat his own, did not consistently produce the same results.
I’m about a quarter of the way through the book, but I’m already on board with the idea that there is wisdom to be gained from interaction with and observation of plants- whether it be proved by the scientific method or evolved into a collection of myths. I think there’s a lot that exists that we don’t physically see and I think plants have an unseen life as well. This week I wish you lots of sweet interactions with your living/dying flowering plants and hope that you might gain a little more understanding or love from them as a result.