The crops chosen by Central Oregon’s growers largely depend upon what the current market conditions require. Farmers are always looking for ways to improve farming practices and add new crops to the rotation. Flower seed is one of the newer crops grown in Jefferson County. Not only are the fields attractive, they are also beneficial to many insects. Currently, there are two flower seed crops being grown.
Purple Cone Flower
Purple coneflower, also known as Echinacea, belongs to the daisy family. Named for the cone shape at the center of the flower, there are nine different species of coneflowers. Showy purple flowers bloom over a long period in late summer. The perennial tolerates a wide variety of conditions and can multiply rapidly by reseeding themselves. Coneflower varieties come in other colors and are ideal for planting on the outskirts of gardens and borders.
Yarrow is a flowering perennial that is easy to grow and comes in a rainbow of colors, including white, yellow, pink and red. Yarrow is grown by many nurseries and is a frequent component of butterfly gardens. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can be grown in less than ideal conditions. Yarrow is believed to be a good companion plant because it attracts many beneficial insects like predatory wasps, hoverflies and ladybugs. Flower heads are usually flattish clusters. In the Middle Ages, yarrow was used to flavor beer prior to hops and today it is still used to make some liqueurs and bitters.