The underbelly of the garden!
Sunday's reflections

What's better than a sunflower?

High 84 F
Low  54 F

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Helianthus annuus (Asteraceae Family)

I posted about the height of my sunflowers briefly on the 23rd but today's drive dictated that they get a bit more attention.  So, what is better than a sunflower?  They demand attention with their bright faces and impressive size.  The one above is growing in the garden but while driving today I happened upon a sea of sunflowers standing in this field like a chorus line getting ready to dance. Dsc_0002 And dance, they do!  Sunflowers are heliotropic which means that the plant, while in its' bud stage, has the ability to turn towards the sun and rotate, east to west, following the sun's path.  Once the plant starts to flower it stops this rotation.  Quite an interesting feature of the sunflower!  I had to pull over and take a few pictures because this is not a sight you see in New England all that often.  Dsc_0005 Many of the blogs I read, from Connecticut to South Carolina, west to Texas and north to Michigan all have mentioned sunflowers.  I find it comforting that so many other gardeners are growing this plant and it is one more common point of connection made in the gardening world.  The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas and is native to North America. Native Americans cultivated sunflowers dating back to 2100 B.C.  Sunflower seeds were exported to Europe and much of the breeding for increasing the oil content was done in Russia in the 1800's.  Vincent Van Gogh painted his sunflower series of seven in 1888 which just validates the universal appeal

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of sunflowers (in my book anyway).    Sunflowers provide food in the form of the seed, oil, and sunbutter much like peanut butter.  I love to watch the birds tugging at the seeds.

Colleen at In the Garden Online had some great suggestions for sunflower projects for kids .   I think that there are all sorts of interesting projects that can be done with sunflowers.  How about a double circle of sunflowers, creating a sunflower room?  A maze of sunflowers would be fun and probably has been done. I have made notes from Kris at Blithewold to grow 'Lemon Queen' and Bob from Bob's Garden to try 'Mammoth' next year.  Any other suggestions? 

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