Friday, October 3, 2008
Imagine having a Flower Clock made in a circle in your garden, with plants planted in 12 positions around the clock face, standing in for each hour. The plants will be placed corresponding to the hour that their flowers open.
Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist, wrote about this lovely idea, which he called “Horologium Florae”, literally “Flower Clock”, in 1751 in the publication “Philosophia Botanica.”
He drew up plans based on the times that flowers, many of them wildflowers, opened where he lived, in Hammersby, Sweden. If you want to design your own flower garden, you will need to adjust the plants by finding out what hour they open in your location, since the times vary by latitude.
For some general ideas, dandelions open at 4-5 a.m., morning glories open at 5 a.m., day lily at 6 a.m, gentian at 9 a.m., sweet peas, Star of Bethlehem and Iceland poppies at 10-11 a.m., passion flower at noon. Put a bench at the 1-3 p.m. location for resting in the heat of the day, ten four-o’clocks at 4 p.m., moonflower at 6 p.m, and so on.
I first read about this delightful idea in the small book “Hortus Miscellaneous: A Gardener’s Hodgepodge of Information”, by Lorene Edwards Forkner and Linda Plato. I had to buy it as soon as I read the title and picked it up. I am all for having fun in our gardens, and anyone who puts the word “hodgepodge” in their book title is ok with me.