Season of Beauty

Last Updated by Melissa Sievers on
Flax blossoms.
Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Vistas across South Dakota are ever changing, due to the advancement of time, passing seasons and life cycles of agricultural crops.  But in one corner of northeast South Dakota, near Raymond, swaths of blue cover about 80 acres of land and stand out from the rest.

Flax planted by Gene and Wanda Bethke of Purity Seeds blooms every year at the end of June and into the first week of July, depending on the weather each year.

Flax Field in BloomFlax blooms in Clark County.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Wanda Bethke explains that the plant is sensitive to environmental factors like temperature and wind.  The blossoms open as the sun rises and the morning warms.

Blossoms wait to open.Blossoms remain closed until morning light warms the plant.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Once the plants wake, a carpet of blue spreads across the Clark county field.

Flax plants openFlax plants blossom and greet the day.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Blossoms unfurl themselves.

Blossoms slowly open.Flax blossoms slowly uncurl and open.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Blue spreads across the field.Blue spreads across the field.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

The blossoms are dainty, but vibrant.The blossoms are dainty, but vibrant.Melissa H Sievers, SDPB 2017

Flax blossoms can be fragile, closing by mid-day during times of elevated temperatures.  They also drop off due to high winds.  

Blooms last for a couple of weeks before the landscape changes again.  Blossoms fall and seed pods grow.  Harvest will begin in a little more than a month.  SDPB will visit the Bethkes again as they cut their crop and dry it for processing.