The Beautiful Flax, Linum narbonense
When a boy, mid last century, I was riding home on my bike from a fishing trip to the River Trent when I saw a flowering flax field for the first time. Three or so acres of light sky blue gently rippling in the breeze. Whilst common flax, Linum usitatissimum, is an annual there are lots of other species the best of which is Linum narbonense.
A native of southern Europe from Portugal to the Balkans it is a terrific garden plant flowering from early November to early summer. The large pale azure flowers, some 2.5 cm across, are freely produced on 30cm tall stems clothed in fine glaucous leaves.
My father had great drifts of it in his garden and I’d have the same if the rabbits would leave my plantings alone. A dusting of blood and bone keeps the rabbits at bay but I have to dust twice a week at least and always after rain.