The Crimson Flax
While the blue flax has provided fibre for fabrics since ancient Egyptian times, the crimson flax was a regular flower in the Victorian flower garden. Hibberd called it one of the most splendid hardy annuals known, capable of becoming a perennial under suitable management.
Gardeners first had to ensure a suitable supplier of seed (crimson flax seed often being corrupted with ‘worthless’ seed). The seeds needed a fertile sandy loam, and could be sown in pans, or trays, from March. Once they were large enough to handle they could be planted out six inches apart. The crimson flax needed plenty of air and light in a sunny open position, and should be kept moist while still young. Seeds could also be sown direct from April onwards.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.