Introducing Fair Field Flowers’ Friday Blog Posts!
Posted weekly, Fair Field growers will write on a variety of farm, flowers and life topics to give you an insight into the process behind the madness, and the gorgeous buds and blooms we have to offer.
This week Joe Schmitt discusses the start of the season and the newest, all-the-rage, hipster holiday (you haven’t heard of it?), Floralia!
“….. an abominable mystery …..”
Those are the words of a thoroughly frustrated Charles Darwin. He was stumped. It wasn’t one of his beloved finches whose evolutionary secrets he couldn’t unlock. It was flowers. The key to how they came to be remained beyond his grasp, and had he lived another hundred years, he’d likely still be grumbling (in updated expletives, I hope). How flowering plants arose from ancient algae, ferns and mosses is still a mystery. It’s a mystery worth reflecting on, however. Believe it or not, if it hadn’t happened, none of us would be here.
Scientists have pinned down the emergence of flowering plants for us at somewhere between one hundred and two hundred million years ago (using a very special super-wide-pointed scientific pin). It took another fifty to a hundred million years for them (not the scientists, the plants) to work out the snags in their design, enabling them to be widely successful around the globe. And that takes us up to about seventy million years ago which is where we show up (“we” meaning small, active, predacious, terrestrial mammals still difficult to distinguish from reptiles). The jury is still out on where this design is going, although the fact that I’m stifling the urge to make a whole bunch of tasteless jokes about it is a hopeful sign.
Flowering, seed-bearing plants provided us with what every warm-blooded, fur bearing but balding, milk-mustached mammal needed for survival in places like Wisconsin, really rich food. If you’ve ever tried to get through a winter here on liverworts and club mosses, you’ll know where I’m coming from. It can’t be done. It takes concentrated calories just to keep the old mammalian furnace fueled. Minimally we’re talking about grain (grasses are flowering plants too, you know, less “primitive” in fact than those showy things we “ooh” and “aah” about), and for the planet’s less greedy residents, like rodents and vegans, simple grain is enough. The rest of us don’t mind having it just a little more concentrated, like beer and brats maybe?
Anyway, I propose that we create a holiday to commemorate this momentous development in the earth’s coming of age. It would be a re-creation, really, of Floralia, the ancient Roman festival honoring the goddess Flora. It was traditionally held from April 28th to May 3rd, so mark your calendars. The last time somebody had this idea was 238 BC, and it worked for them for a couple of hundred years. Sadly, like most of the other really successful Roman festivals, it eventually degenerated into an excuse for, shall we say, public indecency. That unfortunate turn of events, however, and particularly the obscene mimes that began showing up, the Romans blamed entirely on outside influences.
We in Wisconsin would pursue a much higher road, of course, and the potential of public indecency would be significantly less likely in the face of our traditional early May snowstorm. It would be a heck of a boost to the flower biz for me, and as for any mimes sneaking in from Minnesota, how obscene can you be in a snowmobile suit? See you all at Floralia.