Friday, January 29, 2016

Plant Profile-Beach Sunflower

There are "mistakes" that sometimes happen and are a catastrophe.
This isn't one of those times.
Thank goodness, this error is completely in my favor.
Love when that happens!

These little beauties have been referred to as "Faye's sunflowers",
as my farmer friend Faye allowed me to take some seed from her plant
and redistribute it in our backyard garden.
I thought it a bit odd that they did not seem to be displaying the same growing habit.
When she came for a visit, she noticed right off that the leaves were entirely different.

The mystery remained until it hit me.
These are actually beach sunflowers
that I stole acquired from a vacant house in the neighborhood.
I wish I had taken a picture of the plants that were enveloping that house.
The entire front walkway (including the sidewalk up to the front door)
were one gorgeous mass of sunflowers. 
It was really something to see.
On one of my morning walks, I decided the former occupants
most likely wouldn't mind sharing a few seeds.
After all, we gardeners are a generous bunch, no?
You can't know how thrilled I was to make the discovery,
as this has been one of the plants on my wish list for a very long time.

 I planted them in June of last year,
and they haven't stopped blooming since.
They spread easily, are drought tolerant and almost care-free.
What a beautiful addition to the garden.

They are so cheery, even in the darkest of days,
when clouds smother the sky and there is no sun to be found.
These glorious works of art continue to shine all day long.
They self-seed readily and attract a variety of pollinators.
It makes a body feel mighty blessed.

The recent cold snap (30's) didn't deter them one bit.
That gives me hope that I will be able to grow them further north.
In fact, according to this website,
they can be grown as an annual in areas that freeze.
Seeds will be saved for just that purpose.
Even if they only grow during the warmer seasons,
they are worth taking the time to save.
As for the seeds I got from Faye,
I think I forgot to plant them.
(These senior moments are becoming more frequent.)

I know it's the dead of winter,
and most folks don't get to have sunflowers now.
But I also realize that many of my gardening buddies are busy 
planning their spring and summer gardens.
Wouldn't these make a lovely border around your veggie beds?
I am happy to share seeds if anyone would like some.
Believe me, we have plenty!
Just email me and we'll get you squared away.
And until Old Man Winter bids a fond farewell,
enjoy Maple Hill's sunny collection.
We'd love to be a part of your warm weather garden.
Stay toasty, y'all!

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