Progression of a Sunflower: Seedling to Bloom

You know what sunflower seeds look like, don't you?  The classic yellow sunflowers have black and white seeds that look like the classic sunflower seeds you snack on at ballgames.  Different varieties like this 'Bashful' look more like sweet pea seeds. 

Sunflower seedlings are strong compared to other seedlings (look at the end product...those big huge fuzzy strong stalks have to start somewhere!) and have 4 leaves perpendicular to each other stretching out as far as they can to reach the light.  Remember sunflower heads literally follow the sun from rising in the east to setting in the west, so make sure the heads will be facing outwards and not away from you or backed into a building when you want to see them!  This stand of sunflowers is planted along the side of a shed with their backs to the east and facing the west.   When the sun comes over the side of the shed (around noon), the sunflowers are facing straight up and then slowly move their heads to face out at the setting sun in the west.

The reward of sunflowers come in July and August when they burst into bloom.  
They make me all kinds of happy.

Uh-oh...this bloom looks like it might be starting to get a bit saggy.  
See HERE for tips on keeping sunflowers standing tall!

People are not the only creatures that like sunflowers.
Check out that hunk of flower eaten by something naughty...

You can do a few things about your sunflower leaves and blooms being eaten.
1. Spray (NO!  Are you crazy!?  Spray sunflowers?!)
2. Cut the ugly flowers and leaves off the plant.
3.  My solution...look the other way at the sunflowers that are still intact and let the creatures eat!

When the sunflower petals start to fade, the seeds are starting to form in the "head" of the flower.  You have to be patient and wait until the whole plant turns yellow and "shrively" and then you can pull up the head of the flower and like magic, little black seeds will have formed to start the cycle all over again.  Miraculous, isn't it?

On a side note...there have been lots and lots of gardening posts recently...can you tell where I've been spending my time lately??  I tend to dive into the seasons headfirst and do one activity at the exclusion of others...and it extends to my reading has been gardening book after gardening book after gardening book with nary a DIY project in sight!  If you miss them, join me in the winter when a soul would be crazy to head outdoors...THAT is when the IKEA projects start up again :)  ...but back to the books...I found a keeper at a thrift store down here on the shore for a quarter...."Talk to your Plant" by Jerry Baker.  Published in 1973, it is a hilarious look back to the 70's, an interesting look at the author's grandmother's "old" methods of gardening and inspiration for a few new ideas....there will be more copper added to my veggie beds when we get home...yes, I will tell you all about it!! :)


Lisa said…
Beautiful pictures...Amy Moll sent me your way!!! Nice to "meet" you...I'm thinking she said you are going to the Relevant Conference in Oct? is that right? I want to go but they're "sold out"...grrr....Hope you are well!
Hi Lisa! A friend of Amy's is a friend of mien :) Welcome! I'm not going to the conference (I waited too long to buy a ticket :*( HOWEVER, I live in Hershey/Harrisburg where it is held, so I am hoping to hold a charity party and make summer dresses for little girls in Romania with a bunch of the blogger girls coming in for the conference...wanna come?!