Blooming flax: a sight to see
The Linen Craft
A blooming flax field: it is nature at its best. Every year, it attracts many people to the fields. Full-grown up to 1 meter in 100 days, every flower blossoms for one day only.
One meter high
Farmers sow the flax plant right before the beginning of spring, between 15 March and 15 April. It takes the plant about 2 weeks to show up on the surface. From there on, it needs only 86 days to reach a height of approximately 1 meter (3.28 ft.). At this point, the plants transform the fields into a shade of lustrous green.
Flax grows best in the moist and temperate climate of Western Europe. It requires no irrigation and very little care or crop protection. Flax is a very durable plant. Extreme weather types can however influence its growth: heavy winds and storms can break the stems and make the flax fall, damaging the fiber.
Thousands of variations
There are thousands of variations of the flax plant. In Flanders you will encounter the blue flower mostly, although occasionally you might see a white one pop up. This is mainly because farmers seek out the types that assure the highest yield and provide fibers of the best quality on their soil.
Traditionally, the flax fields bloom for about two weeks in the month of June. As of July, the plant starts to mature and seed pods form where the flowers were. By the end of July it is time for the next step: pulling and retting.
Should you pass a flax field in Flanders around mid-June and see it blossom: be sure to enjoy it while you’re there! Chances are you will be one of the happy few who will ever see that particular field in full bloom. This map from the Texture linen museum in Kortrijk shows you an overview of all flax fields in Flanders.
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