How to make a “flower clock” on your site: an unusual decor from Karl Linnaeus
Decorating a plot is a favorite pastime for all gardeners. Indeed, recently they have come to the country not to provide themselves with vegetables and fruits, although this aspect should not be overlooked. But still, the aesthetic pleasure of communicating with nature is gradually coming to the fore. A remarkable innovative design, which is directly related to the landscape design of the site, can be considered a floral clock. This original element is not only a true decoration for any garden, it is also a practical thing that allows the gardener to navigate in time. Of course, the classic versions of street watches have many advantages, while the floral ones have a unique charm and will always remind you that the gardener created them with his own hands.
From the history of the creation of flower watches
Many major cities have flower clocks. As a rule, they are located somewhere near the central square. Flowers in them play an exclusively decorative role. The basis of such structures is formed by a special mechanism that moves the arrows. In fact, this is a mechanical device that differs from what each house has, only in size.
The internal part of this watch has a sophisticated control system. In fact, these are the same mechanical watches as those that we wear on the wrist
The famous Swedish naturalist and physician Karl Linney created a floral watch that is fundamentally different from a mechanical one, invented much later.
Real floral watches first appeared in ancient Rome long before the invention of their mechanical version. Scientists already at that time noticed the interdependence of time of day and plant behavior. Natural color biorhythms made it possible to fairly accurately divide the day into time periods. From early spring to late autumn, people could be guided by the knowledge gained.
As an invention, floral watches first appeared in Sweden. The idea was completed by the brilliant biologist Karl Linney, who devoted a lot of time to botany. The scientist’s thought was embodied in a design that had the shape of a circle divided into sectors.
Each sector was occupied by a plant, the inflorescences of which opened at a specific time of day. Flowering passed from sector to sector in the same way as one hour succeeded another.
Features of plant biorhythms
In the early morning, a cheerful dandelion opens towards the sun. Lunchtime is over and water lilies, closing their buds, are immersed in water. In the twilight of the garden, an evening party awakens - a night violet. Clear diurnal biorhythms are inherent in many plants. They bloom and cease to bloom depending on the illumination and, accordingly, the time of day. Each flower has its own schedule.
As it turned out, the secret of colors lies in the pigments that are in each of them. Two pigments of phytochrome, depending on the time of day, are transformed one into the other. When absorbing daylight, one pigment turns into another. With the onset of darkness, the reverse transformation occurs. So the flower "understands" exactly what time of day it is actually located.
Each plant has its own life routine. Submitting to his inner regime, his buds open and close
Interestingly, changing the conditions of detention has virtually no effect on the internal biorhythms of the plant. Even in the dark basement, the bud will open when it would be necessary for him to do it in the light. And after a certain time period has passed, it will close. Although, if exposed to artificial light for a long period of time, biorhythms can be disturbed. But this will not happen immediately.
Making a flower clock yourself
Making flower watches with your own hands is not as easy as it may seem. Although the occupation is interesting and extremely informative. We strongly recommend involving children in this work. The path will receive a visual lesson from solar astronomy and entertaining botany.
Some flowerbeds only simulate a clock; others really show time. It’s just that the shape of the watch looks very impressive and is very popular
Do not forget that the biorhythms of plants of the same species depend on weather conditions, the geographical latitude of the area on which your site is located, as well as on the level of its natural light. It is possible that your preliminary information will require adjustment.
A floral watch needs clear, sunny weather to work. To rely on the fact that in the rain they will show you the exact time is not worth it, this will not happen.
We need the sun and flowers
To create a real sunny floral clock, you will need several types of flowers. The general principle of work is as follows: flowers should open and close at a certain time, showing how much time it is.
Watches surrounded by flowers are very popular not only in Russian cities, but also abroad. They invariably become the center of attention and a spectacular backdrop for tourists' photos.
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- We choose a place for the future flower beds in our garden plot. We need an open space that is not obstructed by sunlight. Make sure that the shadow of any buildings, trees or shrubs does not fall on the site.
- If you want the future design to perform not only a decorative function, but also be used for its intended purpose, build it in a visible place. For example, at the crossroads of several garden paths.
- The round shape of the dial is traditional and comfortable. After preparing the soil for planting seedlings, it is necessary to divide our round platform into 12 sectors. Each of them will symbolize one hour.
- The circle of the “dial” should be separated from the rest of the lawn. You can isolate it by overlaying with small pebbles of a contrasting color or making backfill with gravel.
- Remember that in the rain, buds may not open at all. Bad weather knocks plants off of those natural biorhythms that are inherent in them, so do not rely on the accuracy of the "move".
It is very important to choose the right seedling for a flower clock. To do this, you need to not only theoretically know the opening and closing times of their buds, but also how they behave in your particular area. Given the time period of flowering, you have to place seedlings in the sectors allocated for it.
To help you choose the right flowers, we’ll give below information on plants whose daily biorhythms are most pronounced. Observe the objects selected for landing, make your own table of their biorhythms. Then the error with the choice will not happen.
Such a table is a real find for any gardener. With its help, you can create not only floral watches, but also very harmonious flower beds
If you are afraid that you can’t cope with such a large-scale work, you can start small. For example, to make a simplified design that will show the time when it is time to have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The fact that it is time to have breakfast will be reminded by violets, coltsfoot and calendula, opening their flowers from 7 to 10 in the morning. When in the interval from 13 to 15 charming poppies and bells close their bright petals, lunch comes. In the period from 20 to 21 night flowers are revealed - evening meal and fragrant tobacco. It's late dinner time. Choose plants whose biorhythms match your own. Let them decorate the flowerbed and signal when it's time to eat.
If the previous designs seemed too complicated and not very effective to you, we offer you an option that is easier to implement in technical terms. By the way, the appearance of the proposed flowerbed will be no worse, and, possibly, better than the previous one. We advise you to make a sundial in which flowers will play a decorative function.
In this case, the floral clock is supplemented with a gnomon, which allows them to show the time more accurately: the biorhythms of colors are duplicated by the shadow cast by the gnomon
Time will show the shadow cast by the gnomon - a tall column, which can be used as an armature or a wooden stand. Mark a circle that will be well lit by the sun. In its center we set the gnomon so that it has a slight bias to the north. To accurately determine the direction, you should use a compass, and all work is best done in 12 days. The shadow from the gnomon at this moment should indicate the upper point of our dial.
In the central part of the watch is a gnomon, which is installed at an angle to the north. Its shadow and shows the exact time.
At the intersection of the shadow with the circle, mark 12. Next, the mark will need to be done every hour. The most important part of the work will end with putting the last mark. From the marks to the center we denote the sectors that can be decorated to your liking. The boundaries of sectors, as a rule, are marked with gravel or flower borders. Sectors are filled with stunted plants.
The advantage of this option is that you can use a variety of decor options and flowers, without reference to the timing of their flowering. You can simply make a neat round lawn equipped with well-marked numbers printed on moisture-proof plywood. For the background of the general circle or sectors, you can use any ground cover. For borders - young, stonecrops and similar species.
The larger the clock, the more difficult the work of creating them. A giant city clock makes a whole team of several people. Flowers for them are grown in advance
Another proposed method for making watches is perhaps even simpler than all previous ones. Its only difficulty is to find a suitable site. We will need 1.5 sq.m. well-lit area, which will not fall shadow from tall trees or buildings.
We will prepare:
- different flowerpots (pots) in diameter: 6-10 pieces small, 4 pieces large and one medium size;
- a wooden or metal rod 90 cm long;
- paint for outdoor work and brushes;
- paving stones to create a site in 1 square. m;
- a mixture of sand and cement;
- some gravel.
If we have all the materials and tools, we proceed to do the work.
Watch pots can be labeled with acrylic paint for artwork. She also looks quite impressive
On large pots with paints we draw the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12. Small flowerpots will also have numerical designations. Since the sundial will not work at night, it is logical to start numbering small pots from 7 in the morning and finish it at 7-8 in the evening. Yes, we will put small pots upside down, learn this when marking. The exact number of small flowerpots used will depend on the length of the hour day in your particular region.
To watch looked bright and colorful, you need to select plants for them about the same size. It is necessary to look after flowers, do not forget about watering
Large pots are filled with moistened soil. In them we will place photophilous plants. It is not necessary that they be of the same species. It is better to choose those that are about the same size and bright flowers. So the overall design will look the most picturesque.
We will prepare the platform for the “dial”, laying it with paving stones. The design of this building is completely dependent on your imagination. In the center of the site we put the only medium-sized pot, which we pre-fill with gravel. We stick an axis into it, the shadow of which will play the role of an arrow. Now, armed with an ordinary watch, we begin to install pots in a circle of the “dial” in the place where the shadow from the arrow will show at the beginning of each hour.
In this case, the watch pad is made of plywood. If you pave it with paving stones using a sand-cement mixture, the watch will look even more interesting
When all the pots are placed, the structure can be considered ready for operation. Please note that after several weeks the position of the pots will need to be adjusted, because the position of the sun above the horizon changes over time.