The Milkweed Diaries

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Christopher's Sunflowers

At the end of last summer, Christopher harvested hundreds of seeds from sunflowers -- wild sunflowers, Mexican sunflowers, and various of the ten or so cultivars that we grew last year -- and saved them all in a big mason jar over the winter to replant this spring. He planted a giant patch at the northeast corner of our main veggie garden.

Now there are sunflowers blooming to beat the band!

Here (photos above and below) are some of the blooms in the big patch that C. planted. Besides being beautiful, they're highly functional. Their roots are breaking up the soil in a spot where we'll plant vegetables next year, and once they're done blooming, they'll make great biomass for the compost pile.

AND, they attract a swarm of garden helpers. I've watched all kinds of birds and insects get very excited about the mondo patch of sunflowers. There's a bright yellow gold finch who especially seems to love them, and the bees are all over them.

We want our garden to be swarming with beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds, so setting a table of big, gold, heaping dinner plates for those of the bird and insect persuasion is a wonderful way to bring them in.

It's hard to take any of the bloom banquet away from the birds and bees, but it's just such a pleasure to bring a few inside (see below)....

I'm feeling so grateful to C. for saving sunflower seeds and planting them - especially since he's out of town for a week, at what appears to be the height of the sunflower sunburst. It warms my heart to have these sunny reminders of him around the garden and house this week!

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