Over that past four years, I found that the world of sunflowers was more than tall and yellow - so many different sizes, colors, shapes, textures for the garden. Dwarf varieties are best suited for the garden here, although there is a cautious aspiration to try a tall variety next year.
The newest sunflower smiling these days is Sunny Smile (helianthus annuus). Two new dwarf varieties were planted this spring, and Sunny Smile was first to win the race to bloom. Over the past few years, the dwarf 'Sunspot' was planted, and comparing the two, Sunny Smile's 18-inch height (50 cm) is a little shorter, and its petals better proportioned to its central seed cluster. Sunspot grew normal-sized blossoms (normal for tall varieties) with oversized centers containing lots of seeds for the birds. On the downside, all varieties tend to attract night-loving, leaf-eating pests; probably slugs.
It's funny that these new flowers are always facing east, and do not follow the sun throughout the day. Sun in this location comes from the south and west. This is not a complaint since the east is toward the house, where they can be admired from inside. Bumblebees have not tried my garden for Happy Hour.
For The Record:
Medium drained organic soil
Little granular organic fertilizer
Blooming: silver salvia, nicotiana, cosmos, sunflowers, canna, zinnias, liatris, dragon flower, crocosmia, castor
Harvested: 1 tomato