It’s late June and the thick beds of tall flowers blooming along I-85 jump up and hold my caffeinated attention as North Carolina says, “Welcome back.”
They must be wildflowers.
Indeed, for 26 years, North Carolina has been planting beds of wildflowers along highways so motorists can enjoy the show.
What a treat – show times listed here.
Balsam patiently waiting in the cold frame
These should add a nice tall flower behind our herbs and beans
“Balsam, Old Fashioned” caught my eye in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, I think mainly for the phrase old fashioned.
I’m not trying to get too cute with my endeavors, but it seems the same two dozen flowers are all over town. If I’m going to the effort of starting things from seed, it seems worth it to grow something other than what the big box garden center rolls out to taunt the parking lot every day.
Growing 12″ – 36″ tall and blooming with flowers close to their sturdy stems, balsam seems the perfect addition of color in our narrow garden bed that edges our yard along the neighbor’s wall. Loving both part-shade and sun, I can place extra seedlings in the shade of our fence along the sidewalk.
Thomas Jefferson enjoyed double-flowering balsam and, it seems from the comments at Dave’s Garden, gardeners of all ages fondly remember the exploding seed pods of their mother’s Touch-Me-Nots or neighbor’s Lady Slippers.
You can cook and eat the young stems and leaves but they are harmful if raw. I’ve read the crushed stems and leaves treat poison ivy but I can’t back it up with a reliable source.
I am about to convert my small cold frame to a summer greens box for growing whatever will fit in it and survive the heat – I’m swapping out the glass lid for a hardware-cloth-top. Think of it as a cage to keep out this year’s relentless alley rats. This is good news for all my balsam starts that have lingered in there a few weeks past my intent to transplant them. Today most of them found new homes along the back of our garden bed.
I’m looking forward to their summer color but I cannot wait for the old fashioned fun of exploding seed pods.