Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Cornflowers blue . . .
Cornflowers with their searing blue are one of the essentials of the cutting garden.
I grow mine from seed sown in April, though I keep intending to start it off in September and over winter the seedlings - perhaps this year.
I don't actually grow that many plants - just a single row - as the important thing is keeping on top of the picking. Let just a few flowers turn into seedheads and the whole plant will stop flowering.
In the case f cornflowers I find less plants is definitely more flowers.
Some flowers I sell at the van on Fridays but that still leaves a lot flowering through the week that still need harvesting so I have taken to drying them.
It is important to catch them at the right stage or they will disintegrate into (very pretty) petals. While this is ideal for confetti or for sprinkling onto tables it isn't what I want as I have plans for delicate cornflower wreaths.
This top picture shows the stage they need to be harvested at both for drying and as cut flowers- the centre of the flower a pointing inwards tightly - the whole flower seems to be slightly inward looking.
The lower photo shows the next stage - a much more open centre with the stamens spread out. Flowers like this will still dry but just won't keep their shape - if you want confetti just cut the heads off and put them on a tray somewhere warm and dark for a few days, pull them to bits and store them in the dark somewhere dry until the wedding - (if it is ages away, one of those silica sachets you get with shoes would help keep it all very dry).
To dry stems of cornflowers cut flowers as per top photo and then bunch 20 or so stems together with an elastic band. Hang upside down somewhere warm and dark until the stems are stiff enough to support the heads - probably a week to ten days.
If you are storing them wrap carefully in a shoebox and ensure that the stems don't tangle.
On a different note we had Baldernock Garden Club to visit yesterday evening and it was quite a different experience - I knew it would be as they phoned in advance t check they could bring wine. It was a lovely sunny evening with enough of a breeze to keep away the midgies and everyone was an absolute delight.