Million Flowers

I’ve been working through a list of winter jobs that has had me about the garden on sunnier days. It’s evident in the sunshine that we’re now well into late winter, with Spring just around the corner. The new season is approaching, fast. Seeing the crocuses in flower, the Camellia buds beginning to open and the cyclamen still hanging on has had me wondering on a question lately; in a full twelve-month season, starting at any point in time, does the count of all the flowers, blooms, blossom and inflorescences of all the plants across the garden over the year, surpass a million? I count a “flower” loosely as something that a bee visits individually for a nectar drink, so a delphinium spire isn’t counted as one flower, but as many because the bee can visit each flower up the flower spike for a snack at each stop.

Some plants, such as the ornamental cherry and even aubretia, have a very large number of flowers for their size, other plants aren’t as efficient. A million is a big number, but the borders are large and there are a lot of plants and there is always something flowering, no matter what time of year.

It’s an interesting question and I’m not sure how to go about answering it without loosing the will to live. Sometimes I think the flower count couldn’t possibly approach this ridiculously huge number, other times I think the flower count shoots beyond without even trying.

As I look out over a garden that is gradually beginning to wake from winter slumber, I daydream of all the flowers there are to come, not just the quantity of them, but also the myriad types, sizes, forms, colours and scents. I wonder whether there really could be a million of them and since that’s impossible to answer, perhaps I should just settle for “countless”.


    1. I’ll settle for “zillions”, Mrs. Mac.


  1. Countless sounds good Sunil.Or maybe a gazillion. But the idea of actually counting gives me a headache. 🙂 On mini daff blooming here in the mountains so far!


    1. Hello Lynn, I couldn’t even begin to think how one would count. Best stick with wild guesses. Miniature daffodils are a plant that’s on my shopping list for a mass-planting in a border, I’d forgotten so I’m glad you reminded me, will have to wait for autumn though (by which point I’ll have forgotten again).


  2. Plant composites – asters, sunflowers, coneflowers, silphiums. Each “flower” actually includes hundreds of tiny disk flowers. A single plant hosts a cast of thousands!


    1. That’s very true, Jason, I was originally counting them as a single one (as it looks like a single flower from afar) but I can always go to the “proper” definition if I’m struggling to make up the numbers!


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