Far Out Flora – Craving Cerinthe
Ocean Beach out there, how’s it going? We were taking the long way home down Judah recently, and popped into the Other Avenues Food Co-op to grab some veggies. I can’t say that we buy all of our food in the OB, but we do like to support our neighbors as much as we can. Turns out the Co-op has a nice rack of seeds. It got us thinking about Cerinthe, another tried and true plant that thrives out here near Ocean Beach. Much as with the California poppy, you’re going to want to find yourself some Cerinthe seed and start sowing right about now.
There are a couple variations on the foliage, and flowers or bracts, but you most likely will encounter green to gray foliage and bronze to blue bracts. Those violet blooms you see above? Well, those are really bracts that surround the flower. You see this in Bougainvilleas too. Bracts are specialized leaves that typically close around the flower and help attract pollinators. By the way, this particular plant is called Cerinthe major atropurpurea, also commonly known as honeywort or blue wax plant.
You can sow seeds directly into the ground and they do well in containers, too. If you plant now, you should start seeing germination in about one to three weeks and mature flowering plants by the middle to end of spring. These guys are Mediterranean natives, with a lot of them coming in, out and about the Greek islands. Water them to get started, and then let Mother Nature take over. Sometimes a little drink in the summer helps them look a little perkier. They like sun, do OK in part shade, and will start to look leggy in full shade.
Now go get a plantin’. We’re headed back to our garden. Looks like we may get some showers next week, which means it’s a good time to start some new plantlings. See ya in two weeks. Matti and Megan – Far Out Flora
We (Matti and Megan) live in San Francisco near Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. Plants are awesome. We like to do interesting things with them. Succulents, bromeliads, carnivores and other unusual plants are our favorites. Both of us graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with art degrees. Matti and Megan both work for plant places here in the Bay Area. We’re originally from the great state of Wisconsin. Before moving to San Francisco we lived in Madison off Willy Street. Our dog, Max, is too smart for his own good. He makes us check out beaches all over the coast. Keep track of more of our garden adventures: We blog at FarOutFlora.com.