National Plant a Flower Day March 12, 2020
By: Amanda Lesondak, Horticulturist and Floral Designer
“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank, Botanist
There is something magical about seeing a field of flowers. Somehow everything that may seem to be going wrong in the world vanishes on exposure of such beauty in flowers and what they have to offer. There are between 300,000 and 400,000 species of flowering plants. Maybe even more. There is a flower for everyone to love!
Recently, I started indoor sowing my “early” flowers as I call them, which are hardy annuals that can tolerate some frost and be planted outside in early spring before the last frost. These flowers may take longer to germinate and/or have a slower growing start such as Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule), sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), and black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia birta) compared to others that are tender annuals that cannot tolerate as much frost and grow faster like zinnias (Zinnia elegans), marigolds (Tagetes spp.), and sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). As I am prepping my propagation table with seed starting soil, seed trays, bottom trays, and water for this seed starting season, my excitement begins to build because this means that it is another new season of life. After the long dark, dreary winter months the anticipation of experiencing existence all over again creates a lot of energy and motivation for me. Every year, it never ceases to amaze me that such a gigantic, gorgeous flower can produce, from what seems like, a literal speck of dust that fell from your bookshelf. Once those seeds are planted, if you’re like me, you may even check to see if it grew more each day, which honestly, sometimes they do. That plant filled with millions of cells transpiring and pumping nutrients and water for photosynthesis to live!
In honor of Plant a Flower Day, grab a pot, soil, seeds, water and celebrate the arrival of spring and the beauty to come! Because of our region, we can’t plant most plants outside until mid-May, but there is the option of starting seeds in a greenhouse, under artificial lighting, or on a sunny windowsill in your home. A few seeds that can be started indoors this time in mid-March and some of my favorites for later outdoor planting are pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), larkspur (Consolida spp.), and strawflower (Bracteantha bracteata). If you don’t want to sow seeds, you can buy a potted flower and transplant it to one of your favorite pots or force a spring tulip, daffodil, or hyacinth bulb in a vase of water and watch the stages of its bloom life. Enjoy this planting season and its magical stages of life!
*This blog was written for Northampton Community College’s website. To view this on their site, click the link: https://www.northampton.edu/news/plant-a-flower-day—march-12.htm