Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Bachelor Button?

“A bachelor button?” one volunteer asked.

Nodding his head ‘yes,’ another pops the feather-like handful of violet pedals into his mouth.

“Is it that the bachelor is the ‘button’ and the petals are all the ladies ready to flock?  Or are they already flocking?”

He shrugs, gripping the flower’s pedals in his fingertips to pluck them off, ready for another bite.

Grown as ornamental, used in teas, Estonia’s national flower, and cultivated by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, John F. Kennedy’s favorite flower is said to even treat conjunctivitis.  The perplexing colloquial name of the centaurea cyanus does not explicitly scream ‘bachelor,’ but here at Graze the Roof, the tall swaying plant provides great color to our garden and to our volunteer day’s lunch.

This self-seeding annual was brought to America from Europe in the 17th century and can grow up to three feet in height.  Its periwinkle florets spike out, resembling tiny instrumental horns.  Today, the plant makes for a lively bouquet after a fun day in the sun at the roof garden, and can easily provide a light (bachelor?) snack on the way home.

Come join the curiosities every Thursday at Graze the Roof!  Volunteer hours are from 10am to 2pm.

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