As a seed grower, I mostly grew flowers to attract pollinators (good pollination means more viable seeds) and then, because plants grown for flowers tend to be more attractive to pollinators than vegetable flowers, plant plenty of those flower plants around the vegetables grown for seeds so that the pollinators “dust off” their vegetable pollen and take up flower pollen instead, thus preventing crosses between the same type of vegetable.
But once we put up the farm stand, people noticed the flowers in our vegetable fields and asked if they could purchase them, too. So, I gather the best of the day’s flowers and put them in the farm stand, like this.
I’ve been buying zinnia seed that are appropiate for cut flowers, but it’s good to see that the pollinators still enjoy the flowers we set out for them.
The farm stand is a bit zinnia-heavy as they seem to hold up best as a cut flower. I’ve used Cosmos ‘Sensation Mix’ for years for the pollinators, but haven’t found that the stems are long enough to put in the farm stand. (It probably doesn’t help that I’ve bought Cosmos twice in my life — once when we started the community garden  and the second time when we started a full planting season here at the farm . Cosmos re-seeds prolifically and beautifully, but the variations on petal shape & color, plant height and stem length doesn’t lend itself well to putting the flowers in a bucket at the farm stand. The pollinators, however, love Cosmos, no matter what the year’s re-seeded variations produce, so there is always plenty of Cosmos in the field, especially around the tomatoes. )
I needed to get out of a zinnia rut and add another flower to the farm stand. Frank loves sunflowers and a friend had tried out some of the new “cutting” sunflowers that have lovely flowers only a few feet off the ground so that one can easily harvest them as a cut flower. My friend’s seeds grew into this scene by the Workshop:
Don’t they look nice? I decided I liked them so much that I would let this year’s trial go to seed so that next year, we can plant “cutting” sunflowers along the smokehouse (which has zinnias this year) and the barnyard wall where everyone can enjoy them as they pass by the farm and, hopefully, will produce enough to add to next year’s farm stand.
In the meantime, enjoy the photos and if you know what type of butterfly is in the middle zinnia photo, let me know and I’ll edit this post!