Tantalizing in their similarity to earthen jewels, seeds are another reminder that the loveliest things come in the smallest of packages. Propagating a flower from seed is both simple and miraculously complex. It is an activity that can be accomplished solo. Or it can be a pleasant way for a parent and child, or a group of friends, to work as relative equals in service of nature. Hands caked with that singular damp and rich smell of the earth, one cannot resist the urge to inhale deeply - eyes closed - wordlessly intuiting the potential of soil and the gifts it somehow manages to deliver.
The initial stage is quickly accomplished – the seed goes into the ground. With patience, and discipline – the seed (usually, never always) sprouts. A little green pushes through. It hastens. The stem extends to reveal itself. As if, were the flower to be a person it would shyly hint that it could become beautiful - with necessary tender loving care.
Growing flowers from seed requires patience - and optimism. Not everything will come up. A customer once reported to us that when admiring a neighbor’s splendid flower garden, she asked about the secrets employed by the grower. The grower, hose in hand, replied, “no secrets, baby – watering and weeding”.
In a sense, planting flowers from seeds is an act of faith. Pour a packet of seeds into an empty palm and imagine the potential abundance.
Thoughts and Care about Zinnias
Zinnias are among the easiest flowers to grow. Still, in a certain way, this lovely flower is misunderstood. Many growers wonder aloud why the initially resplendent bloom wilts relatively quickly once picked. When harvesting zinnias, be certain that the bloom is truly ready. Give it a wiggle. The stem will tell you whether to hold back with those shears. Stems must be stiff, strong and upright (no floppiness) for the Zinnia to live its best - and most elongated life. These ladies also strongly dislike chill. Do not cut Zinnias - intending to take them as a hostess gift - and store them in a refrigerator prior to leaving. Leave them out in on the kitchen counter ready to present on arrival.
Or don’t cut Zinnias at all. Zinnias attract pollinators. If a flower is majesty in and of itself, a companion butterfly is merely an extension of that beauty. A huge bee hanging in the air above a patch of flowers is both picturesque and environmentally beneficial.
Thoughts and Care about Cosmos
Cosmos packaged by Bear Creek Farm are very tall and often have a bi-color, papery type petal. Our Cosmos almost have an Ikebana type look - when you place them in a vase, they are just reminiscent of a Japanese garden. We prefer to highlight and celebrate this quality, allowing the tall specialty Cosmos to stand-alone, rather than for use as filler in a larger arrangement. Cosmos speak for themselves. Let them.
Many believe cosmos, in general, don’t have a super-long vase life, but we have not found that to be the case. We harvest with just one petal unfurling and put them right into water at first snip. Then we watch the flowers and other buds open in the vase.
Thoughts and Care about Sunflowers
True confessions: some people would not count sunflowers as their favorite flower. Sunflowers can be enormous and take over. Unless one is a big fan of yellow, they may not be a first choice. That said, Bear Creek Farm sunflowers are different. Our sunflowers offer unexpected colors and shades. The Sunfill™ Geen and Purple blooms Bear Creek Farm sunflower seeds produce are sculpted - other worldly looking things. We offer, as well, large white sunflowers. (Consider that a big white flower can always add a touch of elegance anywhere.) White teases out other colors complementing their companions and adding a depth to an arrangement - much the way that salt - a dash of rock salt - unlocks the perfection of a perfectly ripe tomato for one hot August day.
Sunflowers are best harvested when the first few petals just start to lift off of the central disk. Strip off all but the top few leaves. For Sunfill™ Purple and Sunfill™ Green allow blooms to expand before cutting, but harvest before the short yellow petals on the center disk show. This variety requires a bit more of a watchful eye but the reward is worth it.
Bear Creek Farm seeds make wonderful gifts for grandparents, teachers, friends. The quality seeds our customers have come to expect arrive in elegantly packaged envelopes with clear planting instructions.