Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cabbages and Flax

 Surprising Sprouts

At Le Ripe early this spring we had a man with a tractor work over our orchard to tumble out the biggest stones and level the ground for easier mowing.

 The resulting freshly-turned and raked earth cried out for seeds. Grass would have been the obvious choice but inspired by friends, we opted for something prettier.
Our local supplier sells sacks of flax seed. Since the flax flower (linum usitatissimum) is a pretty blue, we thought this would make an attractive first planting before grass seeds were sown in autumn.

25 kilos of flax seed was duly broadcast over the extent of the orchard and we waited expectantly. There was precious little rain this spring but despite that, thousands of seedlings eventually appeared.
Yet when their flowers bloomed, they were almost all white. Is this Linum perenne Alba? Pretty enough, but far less appealing than the soft blue we were looking forward to.

 And to our astonishment, amongst the flax plants, like cuckoos in the nest, were  hundreds of cabbage sprouts. 
We may never know whether the cabbage seed was mixed in with the flax or whether the seeds had scattered from an open-air compost heap where Tuscan kale was discarded.
What we do know is that Le Ripe now has an unusual plantation of white flax and cabbages flourishing in the orchard. 

1 comment:

  1. A very nice little story beautifully photographed and with two botanical surprises arising later for the gardener.Cast linum usitatissimum, or lewisii, seeds(both blue flowers) upon the orchard and they come back as linum perenne alba(white) and brassicaceae (cabbages).Perhaps a labelling problem?


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