As the ever present weeds stretch out in the spring light they have a whole host of new friends this year. Around our overwintering beds of hardy annuals there is an abundance of bachelor buttons, burplureum, cerinthe, icelandic poppies, larkspur, and yarrow. Once you get used to identifying a few early characteristics of these spring favorites you'll find it hard to seed anything as healthy and as early in your greenhouse. Magic of the Seed! They know just when to go for it and with the warm spring weather they have been thriving.
Cerinthe has been a great flower to work with once we figured out the stage of harvest and it has prolific seed production. In our experience, once their large seeds are starting to appear on lower blossoms they seem to have a much greater vase life. In the past few weeks I have been gathering these from walkways and weeding them out of sea holly and shuffling them into greenhouse beds and covering them with a light row cover out in the field. All signs are pointing to an early bounty of this filler.
The early growth of bupleurum is easy to spot by its two-dimensional alternating structure. The bright yellow flowers, leaves similar to eucalyptus and a structure that makes bouquets easy to build off of, makes this one of my favorites for the early spring. It took me a bit to spot this one as it gets going but once I did I found a carpet of it in walkways between beds. Interestingly enough, it is also a medicinal herb used in a variety of ways, for now, we'll just be using it in bouquets.
You need to be gentle with these ones every step of the way. Icelandic poppies seed abundantly like most other poppies but it offers the grower a particularly ethereal blossom that will last in a vase better than most poppies. If you want to move these seedlings around its good to do it as soon as they are starting to look vigorous and water them in well.
I wait for the bright blue of bachelor buttons with great anticipation in the spring, watching the sturdy plants take off on pace with the cover crop, using every bit of sun and rain the spring brings. The sight of that bright blue among the soft yellows of daffodils and bupleurum is a welcome sign that the full bounty of summer is just around the corner. When transplanting these I try to remember how long it takes to harvest bachelor buttons and scale back my plantings to 30'-40' of bed space that I want to have blooming at a single time. These are some hardy seedlings and I generally have a good time with the extras, planting them on the edges of walkways and shady places that might bloom late or just offer a nice bit of bonus color on our farm.
Much more to come soon! Thanks for reading.