Linum grandiflorum 'Rubran', scarlet flax, planted as an annual produces a light delicate quality much like a cosmos. This flax grows quite tall, 1' to 1 1/2' and is perfect for the back border of your flower garden. The blossoms are striking in color, formidable against the fernlike foliage of the leaves. The five flower petals fold together, opening fully as the earth comes around to meet the sun. The flowers are short lived, with blossoms dropping each night, but new flowers appear daily all summer producing abundant color. Flax can be broadcast about to create wildflower areas sure to enchant the appreciative sower.

Linum usitatissimum, common flax or commercial flax, is the fiber producing plant used in the making of linen and sailcloth and seeds which produce linseed oil.

Linum flavum, or golden flax, is a perennial and appears to be more dense than either scarlet or blue flax.

Linum perenne, blue flax, is also a perennial and has the same pleasant aspect as scarlet flax and is a good companion of other flowers.

The small, flat seeds of flax may be planted in the fall or spring and requires only a light covering of soil. If planted in the fall, the flowers will give an early spring showing. Flax requires sun and good drainage but is tolerant of low water conditions which make it seem like a natural for our high desert. Order seeds through seed catalogs. Consider placing scarlet or blue flax against an open wooden fence. It gives definition without a feeling of solid mass.

Barbara Kishbaugh
October, 1993