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Spring Flowers!

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Spring is a lovely time on the farm. The cold winter rains have quenched our fall plantings of ranunculus, anemone, narcissus, tulips, dutch iris and freesia for many months and now they
are ready to explode with color with the first warmth of the new year. Spring in California is like spring in most of the country, in that it is fickle and sometimes greets us with a sunny smile and at other times sends us scurrying for warm soup.  Most  of our spring flowers require a long cool (but not cold) period of wet weather to slowly develop their roots and foliage to prepare for warm weather blooming.  Like a magicians wand, the warm spring sun encourages the plants to extend their stems and open their buds and reveal the hidden colors that have been hidden in green foliage all winter. As if mother nature knows we need bright colors after the sense dulling colors of winter, spring flowers tend to posses the brightest, purest color of all the year’s flowers.

Ranunculus is a member of the buttercup family which come in a rainbow of brilliant primary colors. Bright red, rich orange, sunny yellow and pure pink radiate from a multi-layered bloom of petals so delicate they look like crepe paper. The delicate petals are  deceiving though as ranunculus are very long lasting once cut and arranged in a vase. We grow a lovely ranunculus that is deep dark red and has a wonderfully subtle rose fragrance. In fact, many times, ranunculus is confused with roses because their shape and fragrance is so similar.

Narcissus is the latin name for the genus of all flowers commonly known as daffodils. But, when the name narcissus is used it usually refers to the little fragrant winter flowers more specifically known as tazzetta narcissus. The most common tazzetta narcissus are the beautiful, but somewhat offensive smelling ‘paper whites’. Since ‘paper whites’ have a ‘some love it, some hate it’  scent,  we focus on growing  the yellow and cream tazzettas which have a lovely fragrance reminiscent of spring hyacinths. Narcissus is best displayed in small clear or silver vases and are perfect for the bedroom or bathroom. I just love the idea of someone in the frigid North East receiving a box of super fragrant Narcissus. Imagine the joyous look on their face when they open the box and are greeted with a blast of that sweet, spicy, earthy fragrance of Narcissus. The perfect cure for the winter doldrums!

Anemone is so beloved on our farm. This lovely member of the buttercup family continues to grow and bloom even when cold rain is falling and the temperatures are struggling to reach 45 degrees. And the colors are so enchanting! The deepest darkest royal purple, dark fire engine red, bright florescent pink, rich merlot and pure white. We ship our anemone ‘in bud’ so that the delicate blooms will not get damaged during shipment. When they arrive they will take 2-3 days to open in a warm room ( they will open very slowly if your  house is less than 60 degrees...burrr!). When anemone open they provide you with a dazzling show!  Anemone is one of the only flowers that will actually grow in the vase getting taller every day (tulips will also do this). Be sure to add water to anemone every day because they drink LOTS of water, sometimes they will empty the vase every day. But they are very forgiving, if they do run out of water and get a bit wilted, just re-cut the stems and put them back in water and they will perk right up.

Tulips are a flower that everyone knows. Native to Central Asia and made popular by the Dutch, tulips are wonderfully simple in form and perfect in contemporary settings. We like to grow the taller more elegant ‘French’ tulips. The Dutch prefer to call them single late tulips and are a bit perplexed as to how the French were able to get their country’s name on
a Dutch bred tulip!  But whatever the name, they have magnificent large blooms with long willowy stems that will announce ‘spring’ to all that are graced by their presence. Tulips will move and grow in a vase creating an ever changing display. Expect tulips to grow in length by 50% during their life in a vase.

Dutch Iris are very popular with our customers at the Chico Farmer’s Market as well as on our website. We sell them in ‘pencil stage’ with just a tip of color showing at the top of the stem. Over the course of several days, the tip enlarges and then unfolds into a dramatic orchid like bloom. Many times a second bloom follows the first creating a long lived display. We grow the classic dark blue iris as well as yellow, and our favorite ‘eye of the tiger’ which has a bronze tongue with royal purple petals and a yellow highlighted throat.... very exotic!

The winner of the award for best fragrance in a spring flower must belong to Freesia. I describe the fragrance as apricot jam with a touch of black pepper. It is a gentle pleasant fragrance which everyone (even the fragrance sensitive folks) seem to enjoy. We only grow bright yellow freesia called ‘dukaat’ because in addition to a having a lovely color, it is
the most fragrant of all the varieties. Freesias have many buds on each stem which bloom in succession creating a
long lasting display.

Spring flowers love cool spring weather and loath the onset of summer. Generally they are only available during February, March and April before the hot days have arrived. So enjoy them while you can, they are Mother Nature’s way of rewarding you for enduring the long grey winter! www.californiaorgnanicflowers.com
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Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 02:50PM by Registered Commenter[Your Name Here] in | Comments29 Comments

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