I love growing sunflowers They have a simple shape, vibrant colors, and are pure heaven for the pollinators. At the same time, they also have the complex and mesmerizing seed spirals of the Fibonacci sequence. I can get lost looking at them.
It is fascinating to watch their faces track the sun as it travels across my afternoon garden. They lend a cheerful aura to the garden with their nodding heads. This sun tracking is known as heliotropism and over nighttime the stems re-orient the flower faces to the east so they are ready to greet the sun and begin the cycle again. Isn't that amazing?
When my children were very young, we grew a sunflower house with ‘Mammoth Russian’ sunflowers that reached 12’ tall. To begin, we marked the perimeter and planted the seeds to make the walls, leaving enough room for a door. We interplanted the sunflower seeds with blue morning glory vine seeds that rambled up the thick stems.
Once the flowers started to make buds, we tied twine around the top of the stems and across the top. The vines eventually grew tall enough to follow the twine and made a beautiful blue-flowered roof overhead. We had lunch and playtime (and an occasional nap) in the sunflower house where it was shady and cool. The sunflower house was a magical part of the summer for all of us.
When the season came to an end, we had fun cutting down the enormous flowerheads filled with ripe seeds which we salted, roasted and ate. We also left plenty for the birds and squirrels.
My family enjoys sweet memories of this even after many years.
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