Not all is always as it seems in the garden. There are false flowers that are real flowers, but called false because they look like something they aren’t.
These are False Forget-me-Nots, Brunnera macrophylla, blooming today in my garden. This is one of those plants that started to bloom in late March but then the flowers disappeared when it got cold. Now they are back, all blue and tiny and pretty.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever known anyone who grew real Forget-Me-Nots (Myosotis sp.) around here so I did a Google search to find out more about them. That took me to the USDA Plants database website, and now I have more questions. If you look at this map of where Myositis arvensis (Field Forget-me-not) grows, you will find it grows in all the states surrounding Indiana, but not Indiana. It is as though we’ve closed our borders to this flower. Hmmm… I’ll have to do some more research.
How about someone doing some more research on false flowers in general and planting a whole garden of false flowers? You could plant False Dragonhead (Phyostegia virginiana), False Indigo (Baptisia sp.), and False Sunflowers (Heliopsis sp.) for starters, oh, and False Forget-me-nots. I’m sure there are other false flowers that we could come up with. Who will plant a false flower garden for all of us to see?
By the way, I got a few comments yesterday that perhaps I was offering advice that taken at face value, might be hard to follow. So I wanted to explain how you can avoid buying tender annuals plants too soon when we could still have a frost and yet not wait to buy plants when you find what you want. I’m about to reveal a secret method on how to do this, one that takes a bit of willpower and a small measure of confidence in the methods of growers and retailers. Get a piece of paper and a pencil to write this down, or fire up your printer…
Here’s the method…
Don’t go to the garden centers until right around your average frost free date for your area.
That’s right. I have not yet been to a garden center, so I have not been tempted to buy annuals yet, because I think it is too early here. Yes, I have walked through a big box seasonal department, but I kept my eyes straight ahead and did not look at the annuals.
I’ll go the week of May 7th, which is around our usual frost-free date of May 10th. The garden centers will have plenty for me to buy, even then, because they are getting new plants in all the time in the spring. The growers don’t sow thousands of annuals on one day and then ship them all out on one day, and that’s that. They spread out their sowing over many weeks in the late winter so that for many weeks in the spring they have fresh plants to ship out. And local growers who sell on site are doing the same thing. Every day, they are bringing plants up to the front from their greenhouses in the back, as the plants reach the perfect size for selling.
I’ve always found what I wanted with this method and have never felt like I was picking through what the early birds left behind. Sometimes I’ve even run into the early bird buyers, re-buying their annuals after a late frost.
And to ensure you are getting fresh plants, you might just make friends with the staff at your favorite garden center to find out when they will be getting new shipments of plants so you can time your visit accordingly. If they are growing plants right on the premises, and you don’t see what you want, ask if they have them in their greenhouses. Sometimes they do, and are just waiting a few more days to bring them out. They should be more than happy to check because their business is selling plants, and they wouldn’t want to see you leave and go to the competition, if they have want you want back in their greenhouses. If they won’t check, leave and go to the competition.
Which brings me to radishes (and lettuce and peas and spinach and onions). So far, I’m winning the competition with the rabbits to be the first to eat from the garden. This evening I harvested a few radishes and green onions.
I cleaned them up and ate them. They were quite tasty. Better than store bought!
This weekend I’ll be harvesting the first of the lettuce. I can hardly wait.