Flowers, Gardening, Plants, Seasons, The Art of Ecology

Tell the Time With Garden Blooms!

In past posts, I’ve talked about how pollinators are attracted to certain flowers, and even how flowers have adapted their coloration or structure to better suit pollinators. Did you know that humans, way back in the 1700s, thought about using that sort of botanical and ecological knowledge to OUR advantage?

“While Carl Linnaeus never got around to planting his flower clock, he was able to create this beautiful visualization of his data – the Horologium florae, or flower clock.”

In 1751, Carl Linnaeus (the father of taxonomy, or the structural naming of things scientifically), took the study of plants a step further than other plant-observers before him. He noticed that some plants change their behaviors depending on the time of day and started documenting their changes by the hour. After extensive observation and study, Linnaeus drew out a “Flower Clock”! One would be able to plant specific flowers and be able to tell the time of day, just by observing those flowers. Amazing! Of course, the specific flowers used all depend on where in the world you are (do you have longer days vs. nights? Do your days stay cold?)

You can replicate this in your own garden! Flowers know that their pollinator might be out early in the morning (I see honey bees in my own garden between the hours of 9am-10:30am), and open their flowers up specially for their pollinators, then close them back up again after their pollinator group would become inactive. Let this knowledge and Carl Linnaeus’ study be your guide!

 Having your flowers in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun will help to keep your blooms happy!

You will need a partial – full sun spot, soil, gardening tools, and flowers in order to create your flower clock. You don’t need to plant them all in a circle, as Linnaeus has proposed – plant them however you’d like! It might be helpful to use plant stakes or markers to remember what time each flower is supposed to bloom if you decide to plant them out of order…

Looking for some examples of what flowers to use? Keep in mind your location, but give these a try (based on Carl Linnaeus’ flower clock and other more local clocks):

2am: Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor) | 3am: Goat’s Beard (Tragopogon pratensis)

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

4am: Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana – native!)

5am: Chicory (Cichorium intybus)  

6am: Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.)

7am: Dandelion (between 5am-8am) (Taraxacum officinale)

8am: Fringed Pinks (Dianthus superbus), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) 

Tulip (Tulipa sp)

9am: Tulip (Tulipa sp.)

10am: California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

11am: Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

12pm: Wild Daisy (Bellis perennis – not the same as the naturalized Ox-Eye)

3pm: Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

4pm: Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)

5pm: Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis – native)

6pm: Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

8pm:Night-Scented Stock (Matthiola longipetala) | 9pm: Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

What does your garden look like year to year? Let me know in the comments!

Wish that you could have these blooms all day long, all year-round? Never fear! Swing by my SHOP page to snag a magnet, stationary set, or photo print of these gorgeous blooms and more!

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