When I was a young girl, around 10 or 12 years old, I wanted to be a horticulturist when I grew up. I loved indoor and outdoor gardening. Guided by my mother, I grew an elaborate flower garden that I raised from seed indoors and transplanted outside in the Spring. My flower garden included the perfect mix of flowers for making beautiful bouquets. One of my favorites was the cockscomb flower with its rippled, velvety plume in saturated red hues.
Originating in Africa and India, these exotic flowers are just as beautiful cut and dried for indoor display during the barren winter months. I remember cutting the flowers, hanging them upside down in our basement and waiting for them to dry so we could enjoy them all winter in vases around our home. What it lacked in fragrance, it made up for in unique beauty.
At the end of the Summer, I would harvest the tiny black seeds located at the base of the plume. You can barely see this black gold. I’d collect the seeds in a special container for planting the next Spring. I have been told that people collect and share these seeds for generations and from gardener to gardener.
Named after the red plume on a rooster’s head, cockscomb flowers are more stunning than anything I’ve ever seen on a chicken. When I see cockscomb flowers today, I’m transported back to the days of my flower garden and that warm feeling of home, youth, and simpler times.
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