Garden in Delight welcomes flax to the Plant Guide in anticipation of setting the table for our Thanksgiving feasts next week. Dotted with impish blue flowers, flax is a mighty, “most useful” plant as its Latin name usitatissimum proclaims. The stems connect us to the age-old practice of weaving linen, an agricultural crop dating back to ancient Egypt. Additionally, flax seed, borne in grape-sized pods after flowers fade, adds nutrition and a dull, nutty flavor to the diet, both for humans and livestock; it is also the source for linseed oil production.
Nearly every one has seen one of the pretty footwheels for spinning flax thread for linen, which may yet be found in the attics of many of our farmhouses…If one of these flax-wheels could speak to-day, it would sing a tale of the patient industry, of the tiring work of our grandmothers, even when they were little children, which ought never to be forgotten.
~ Alice Morse Earle, Home Life in Colonial Days, 1898
Despite its highly-developed and industrious heritage even into American colonial life, flax remains unpretentious as a garden annual; sow seeds next spring when the ground is cool and moist, and enjoy delicate blue flowers in drifts, adding a wildflower-like whimsy to your garden, blooming through the early summer.
In the meantime, let visions of dainty blue blossoms dance in your head while setting the table with your finest linens. Preparing the table displays the noble work of faith in action, our love for family and friends moving us to feed them and cultivate their fellowship over a blessed meal…no matter how much work is involved!
A wife of noble character who can find?
… She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family
Proverbs 31:10, 13, 15 NIV
It also puts us in company with the LORD, who has prepared a table himself.
You prepare a table for me, even as my enemies watch
Psalm 23:5 CJB
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Proverbs 9:2 The Message
A Table Linens Prayer
O LORD, bless the work of my hands as I plan and prepare for a wonderful meal. Make me eager to serve the best of your harvest and be thankful for your loving ways working through me. May your grace and peace reign over our time together.
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Revelation 19:6-8 NIV
Find more information about flax at www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/flax/
©2015 Shelley S. Cramm Fine linens for a Thanksgiving feast
©2004-2005 Henfaes Research Centre, University of Wales, Bangor Close up of flax flowers