Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Mini Mammoths

So whatever happened with the urban sunflower house I was planning on creating in this April post? A few things:
  1. Russian Mammoth Sunflowers need ground to grow, not pots. In our neighborhood, the ones that were planted in direct soil were seriously MAMMOTH... as big as both of my arms encircled.
  2. We thinned ours so there were three per pot, but that's no "house."
  3. They also need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. We spread them out around the garden to provide just that. No house this summer, but I'm hopeful for next.
What did I adore about growing these? A few more things:
  1. They grew so tall that there's just something magical about being dwarfed by a flower in your garden. (I don't know, but is it similarly magical when you are dwarfed by your grown child? Sunflowers only take a number of weeks from seed to maturity vs. 18 years.)
  2. In the autumn, when they bend over and their seedy faces are arching into the tomatoes, there is such a human quality to their fallen stalks. Summer is really over. I feel just as droopy.
  3. The dinner plate size blooms that burst with seeds are a very tactile, seasonal project for little ones and adults alike. Tearing them apart and breaking into the seed cache was really impressive. Each bloom provided us with hundreds of seeds to plant next year and feed to the birds, or eat them too!
  4. When I took these to camp, I felt like a Mama squirrel collecting for winter as I handled my stash under a forest of golden leaves with my curious little squirrels by my side.
  5. Late September has never felt so right as it did among the sunflowers on our city street.