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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – February 12

On Friday a box arrived from Battenfeld’s Farm in Red Hook, NY. Inside were bunches of Anemones and Ranunculus, a gift from my husband for Valentine’s Day.

Battenfeld’s Farm has been raising cut flowers in New York’s Hudson Valley for over 100 years. When we lived in Spencertown, NY, north of Red Hook, my husband would stop at this family business and buy flowers whenever his route took him up and down the Taconic Parkway.

Of course I love the fact that my husband continues to order boxes of these lovely bouquets, but there are other reasons to cherish these flowers.

These types of hybrid Anemone and Ranunculus are cool weather plants. They do not grow and bloom in the heat of the summer, so there is no way that I’d be able to raise them in my gardens. It’s also unusual to find them in the normal places we buy cut flowers; these are not the bunches you can pick up at the supermarket or even from most florists.

Both flowers arrive in bud, and only begin to open in response to a fresh cut of their stems, warm water and interior temperatures. The Anemones are particularly fun to watch as they start as closed, tight buds and open into large, flamboyant flowers. Their stamens are dark blue, a dramatic contrast to the bright red, purple, pink or white petals.

In an age when supermarkets offer fresh blueberries in January and strawberries or peppers twelve months a year, it’s nice to have some crops that are still both local and seasonal. In the summer this means zinnias that I and other area gardeners raise. In the winter I cherish flowers from Battenfeld’s.

When it’s still solidly winter outside, a bunch of winter flowers and a good book speak to the heart and soul. I’m reading Sarah’s Daughter, by Ruth Bass.

The tight buds of these Anemones give no clue to how showy they will be once open. Go to the Battenfeld’s website to see how they look when open:

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