Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More Sunflowers

I love how cheerfully and proud sunflowers spring up sturdily almost anywhere you drop a few seeds. Especially when they are unexpected.

After spying a lone stalk topped with the familiar yellow-petalled disc in the front yard of a neighbor I asked him about it. The flower, growing beneath a tree on his front lawn, had just shown up there, he said. I was enchanted.

New to gardening at the time, it was the first time I'd been introduced to the concept of "volunteers" in the garden.

Later when my boys were toddlers we enjoyed watching volunteer Helianthus annuus, as they are officially named, spring up in the cracks between the paving stones on our back patio. The product of birdseed we had placed in the area, and misplaced as they were we let them grow until they towered over the boys.

Well I'm as enchanted by sunflowers today as I was then and every year I plant a packet beneath the large tree in our front yard. Enough late afternoon sun shines on the patch that the plants thrive there.

This year I chose Kneehigh Sunflowers Music Box Variety after last year's Giant Greystripes wound up competing with the foliage of the large tree they grew under. The packet describes them as "bushy plants (that) bloom freely in lively sunny shades from rich clear yellow to deep gold and cream with lots of pretty bicolors of bronze over gold, all with crisp petals and chocolate center discs." The description sold me (who writes this garden porn anyway?) and they have lived up to their word nicely.

A favorite in many children's garden, sunflowers are truly one of the easiest flowers to start from seed. If you too are a sunflower lover and haven't read Eve Bunting's Sunflower House, browse through a copy the next time you are in a library or bookstore. And check out this how-to article and plan to make one of your own next summer.


C.C. said...

I'm always getting a few that the birds plant here and there. And I'm surprised every year at how well they grow and flower through most months of the year in California. I just spotted a patch this weekend that I bet will be flowering around thanksgiving.

Nice picture, too.

Christine said...

Thanks C.C.

I never thought of successive plantings but with the mild climate here it would make sense for a sunflower lover like myself.

meg said...

I, too, have loved sunflowers from childhood. I put in my first one recently & hope to plant more next year.
You have a lovely site & I would like to drop by for a visit again. Being a novice gardener, I look to others for ideas & inspiration.
I love the community garden idea- I wish we had one on Tracy- I blog with a lady in the UK who describes her work in a community garden allotment- very cool!

Christine said...

Hi Meg,
Thank you for the compliment on my site. I am a novice blogger as well as novice gardener. I will drop by yours and hope you visit here again.

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