We cannot think too highly of nature nor too humbly of ourselves.”
Charles Caleb Cotton, English Writer (1780-1832)

Strictly in my opinion, the news of the region this past quarter has been the spectacular wildflower show due to the good moisture much of the region enjoyed this season.  In our case, January showers brought May flowers.  My quote above seems particularly true when taking in the amazing wildflower show.  It started in early February, in the California deserts, and will continue through July as the snow melts in the high Sierra.  No matter how beautiful the flowers are that I know we all grow, nature always will one-up us.  The mountain we live near was a magnificent mosaic of purple and yellow and I watched it transition the whole spring as I was out planting.  Can’t beat the scenery at this job.
I think it well worth the time, as a ‘specialty’ cut flower grower to always be on the lookout for an interesting flower to try as a cut.   Checking out the wildflowers is a great way to do that.  Though truthfully, I never take enough time to do this as the wildflower shows coincide amazingly enough during the busy planting season.  I do, however, enjoy searching the J. L. Hudson catalog because among his many listings are a good number of wildflowers.
I am also quite thankful in checking out the wildflowers either in the field or in the catalog for what I am convinced has become my most valuable classes taken in college – botany and plant taxonomy.  Knowing all the familial relations of plants has been extremely helpful in choosing unique varieties.  This past year I tried some prince’s plume (Stanleya pinnata).  Although a bit smelly as it is a brassica, I think I will work at growing it again because the plants that grew produce beautiful, tall spikes of bright yellow flowers.  They resembled a bit, I think,   foxtail lilies.  They bloomed early and were spectacular with orange oriental poppies.  That’s my story on the unique, now onto the tried and true.  
Recently, Jeannine Bogard with Goldsmith Seeds contacted me and I believe a number of you as well to ask what is each of our picks for the Top Ten list of seeded flowers.  She is compiling this for a presentation she has been asked to give.  I think it might be a good one for us to hear at our conference in San Jose next October.
Well, this was an interesting exercise for me.  While I could never possibly just grow 10 flowers because we don’t sell our flowers as grower’s bunches but as mixed ‘Buckaroo Bouquets’, ten flowers –  even multiple varieties –  just wouldn’t do.  I did decide that I could pick out 10 that I couldn’t possibly survive without.   What I used as my criteria in picking these flowers were reliability in my climate, ease of growing, customer appeal, yield and longevity for vase life.  I typically like a flower that I can pick multiple stems from but I included sunflowers in my list even though it does not meet the criteria.   I have many varieties I think are important in each category, much too numerous I think to list in my column space.  Also, the flowers are not listed in order of importance – I pretty much need them all equally.  1. Godetia, 2. Aster,  3. Celosia,  4. Dianthus,  5. Rudbeckia,  6. Lisianthus,  7. Snapdragons,  8. Statice,  9. Sunflower,  10.  Cosmos.
Back out to the field for more planting, celosias actually.  I am looking forward to all of us flower growers meeting up in September in Pennsylvania.