Sunday, August 23, 2009
Cosmos with Small Copper butterfly
OK, I admit the last blog was a bit of a challenge. It takes a peculiar mind like mine to be intrigued by the mathematics of flowers. But I’m also fascinated by the simpler aspects of gardening – and it doesn’t get much simpler than growing annuals from seed.
I’ve always loved growing annuals from seed – right back to when I got my first little garden plot when I was about nine years old. I pretty quickly learned I could fill it with all kinds of exciting annuals from packets of Cuthberts Seeds bought for a few pence from Woolworths.
Later on I discovered that there were seed companies like Dobies and Carters that would post me wonderful colourful catalogues of their seed ranges for free. I even sent off to seed companies in the US for their catalogues and I remember getting a huge catalogue of all kinds of exciting plants from the Burpee Seed Company. As a 12 year old, I found the name enormously amusing. And I bet I was the only boy of my age in my town who had a pile of seed catalogues as bedtime reading!
I still reckon annuals from seed offer fantastic value in the garden and we grow quite a lot to fill the holes in our beds while we are waiting for the perennials to reach full size.
One of my particular favourites has always been Cosmos. It’s such a big showy plant with lovely fern-like foliage and attractive flowers that insects and butterflies just love. But I always wondered why it was called Cosmos as it seems pretty extravagant to name a flower after the universe.
Apparently it was given the name by Spanish priests who found the plant growing wild in Mexico and grew it in their mission gardens. The evenly placed petals led them to christen the flower Cosmos - the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe.
And why is it so ordered? Well the fact that every Cosmos flower has eight petals might have something to do with the previous blog …. but I did promise. No more mathematics!