Seed catalog browsing is all very well, but when the temps have a “minus” in their name, seed catalogs are not enough. In addition to traveling to where flowers are always in bloom and growing bulbs indoors, I have been contemplating the possibilities of locally-grown cut flowers becoming part of my CSA allotment. We have a number of CSA choices in Western New York—this still being farm country—but one of them, Promised Land, includes a fresh flower and herb option as well as the normal 6-7 months of vegetables (there is a fruit option as well).
The flowers are perfect for me—exactly the varieties that will not thrive in a smallish, partly-shaded urban garden. They include sweet peas—I have failed numerous times with this classic—strawflower, celosia, amaranth, bupleurum, glads, even grasses. I am using the names found on the website: a charming mix of common, botanic, and misspelled.
Maybe you don’t have this problem, but—with the exception of lilies—I really hate picking flowers from the garden. I need them to stay outside, where they are scenting and decorating a summer living space. Then there is the slight possibility that some of the perennials and annuals from seedlings will not succeed with the abundance you need for casual picking. I also like the option of supporting local farmers, especially these farmers. Daniel, Jane, Ben and Pam Oles run a chemical-free operation, using cover crops, compost and crop rotation to maintain their soil. I could never hope to do so well, or grow so much. And flowers too! That anticipation alleviates the sting of the single digits. A bit.