The very idea of growing a carrot for its flowers rather than its edible roots seems a crazy idea, especially when most vegetable growers go to great lengths to prevent their crops bolting (or running to flower). But ‘umbellifer’ flowers are so popular these days for cutting that I had to try this new cut flower crop that is taking the floristry world by storm. Daucus carota (the humble carrot) ‘Dara’ has been bred not for its roots but for flowers which are variously pinkish or maroon. Although listed as a biennial, and I am sure it can be sown late in summer to bloom the next year, I wanted results now, in the cut flower garden, so I sowed the seeds indoors and transplanted them. There were very few seeds in the pack and I sowed one per cell in 12-cell trays and had a few seeds left over so I put two in some but basically ended up with 24 plants. The seeds were sown in March. When they had filled the cells with roots I planted them out in a sunny spot mixed in with flowers for drying, and they soon sent up flower spikes to a height of about 80cm. The stems are moderately branched and now the top umbels are in bloom. I have read that the flowers change colour as they age but I am not sure this is so. Some plants have very pale flowers, some are pink and others dark red and I do not think they change colour. I am slightly underwhelmed. I don’t know what I was expecting, and they are pretty for mixing with other flowers but I am not sure I will bother again.
What does worry me is carrot fly. I have been really careful this year to sow all my carrots in a ‘fleeced’ area to prevent carrot fly destroying the crop as they did last year and I assume that these carrots will be a host for the pest, maintaining the pest from last year to next. I am not sure I am prepared to take that risk again.
Geoff’s rating 6/10
Garden rating 7/10