Bouquet of the Week
July 20, 2017
Zinnias, Sunflowers, Lisianthus, Ageratum, Mountain Mint, Rudbeckia triloba, Cosmos, Oriental Lilies
Mid-July is a great time to talk about some of the native wildflowers in our line-up at Falling Springs Flowers. We grow all of our flowers outdoors in the field without greenhouses or any other protection from the prevailing weather conditions. So we rely on a range of different varieties to provide fresh cut flowers suited to the season as the weather changes from April through October.
A lot of the flowers we grow are native to the Americas - sunflowers, zinnias, tuberose, lisianthus, and more - but most have been improved and domesticated to the point that they're better described as garden flowers. However, some of the most distinctive varieties we grow are actual native wildflowers that can be found growing naturally in meadows and woodlands and along roadsides here in Kentucky.
The native wildflowers we grow are adapted to our local, natural growing conditions. They are beneficial to native insects and other wildlife. And they provide a uniquely local and natural touch to our arrangements and bouquets during their flowering season.
Our native wildflowers are some of the most interesting and attractive flowers we grow. We hope you'll appreciate these seasonal treasures as much as we do while they're in season.
Brown-eyed Susans occur naturally in rich meadows and along woodland borders. They from branching, airy clusters of small, cheery, brown-and-gold daisy-shaped flowers that cast a casual scattering of charming wildflowers across the face of a bouquet. Like the larger Black-eyed Susans that bloom earlier in the season, rudbeckia triloba is a surprisingly long-lasting cut flower.
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
Coneflowers are the most recognizable of the native wildflowers in our line up. Most people will recognize its big purple blossoms and gracefully drooping petals. Purple coneflowers are excellent hardy perrenials that are common in yards and landscapes. You can see them growing naturally in rough meadows and roadsides, particularly in dry, lean, and even rocky soil.
Despite they're familiarity, they make a surprising and unfamiliar cut flower. By the time the big, luminescent orange cones have reached their full majesty, the iconic purple petals have mostly succumbed to the ravages of time. Stripping off the petals allows the eye-catching glowing orange cones to make a striking floral statement.
Mountain mint has gray-green foliage with lovely silvery-white frosted tops and a nice minty fragrance. It's a subdued filler that is an especially nice backdrop for bright, jewel-toned colors, or for soft pastels, or green and white designs. Mountain mint is very long lasting in bouquets and arrangements and is excellent as a dried flower.
Mountain mint is available during a long season from mid to late summer.
As much as we love mountain mint as a cut flower, pollinating insects of every kind love it a hundred times more. During its long bloom season, our beds of mountain mint are literally abuzz with an incredible diversity of life all day long, the entire surface teeming with continuous movement and humming with the whirr of wings.
Mountain mint is unrivalled as a honey-producing plant, and it provides an ideal habitat for native pollinators, the small native bees, wasps, and flies, many of whom are endangered by pesticides and industrial agricultural practices.
Getting caught up in the drama of life in the mountain mint can feel like going on safari on a miniscule scale. On our website, we've even posted a video clip of an assassin bug catching a flying wasp in a bed of mountain mint.
We look forward to seeing you again this Saturday at the Bardstown Road Farmers Market, and hope you'll enjoy the natural wonder of our native wildflowers and the rest of our local and seasonal, naturally-grown cut flowers.
See you there!