27 October 2012

Fall Tower of Sunflower

Dwarf sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are always found in my summer garden, because, well, I have a very small house on a very small property. In addition, tall sunflowers are too overwhelming and gangly for my taste (although I have admired a tight grouping of them.)

Just about every winter, I comb through the garden catalogs searching out the shorties to try during the upcoming summer. Altogether I have tried about a half dozen varieties [posted 2009.08.25]. Last year, I never ordered any and can't remember what the reason was.

With no seed for the summer, I made a panic purchase at the local home improvement store when the tulips were blooming. Burpee's Big Blush came home and a spot was reserved along the front driveway. But, I could not find the seed when it came time to plant. "Did I really purchase them?" I wondered. I instead planted the same variety as before that I found in my tin of leftover seed, Waooh [posted 2010.09.02].

I eventually stumbled across the seeds I bought earlier in spring. The summer sunflowers were done blooming for the season in August. After they were ripped out, I thought, "Why not plant some more? Time to start another experiment." So a second crop of dwarf sunflowers (actually 3 seeds) were planted in the same spot; one came up.

I have good results to report from last week. With the frost holding off, one tower began its run. One could guess the dwarf varieties could do this since their growing season is a little shorter than the tall ones. A 40-inch high (1 m) stalk with all sorts of side flowers is blooming. Big Blush flowers are not unique, but the size of the side flowers and their associated stems is, resulting in great cut flowers from one plant.

Was this an anomaly? If not, this could become a habit from now on - something to replace the old sunflowers once they finish their summer blooming. On a second note, the Waooh sunflower seeds were harvested and are most appreciated by chickadees.

For The Record:
  • Fertile soil & organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • No fertilizer
  • Chomping pests during summer germination


Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Mexican zinnia, zinnia, sunflower, echinacea, pineapple sage
  • Harvested: 1 pepper, 1 tomato

4 comments:

Northern Shade said...
You've been doing a lot of time sharing garden space lately, with your successive crops. I like that Big Blush is more in proportion than many Helianthus. You get a good amount of bloom showing for the amount of stalk.

Lucky little chickadees. I have a number that hang around my trees, and they are such fun to watch. They're such friendly birds to be chattering just a few metres away as I garden.
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Ray, lovely sunflowers!! Glad to see I am not the only one who can't remember if they did in fact BUY some seeds. I forget or blur years together pretty easily!
Bangchik and Kakdah said...
Lovely display of yellow flowers!!.... I remember buying seeds, but sometimes forget to germinate them... haha.
Swimray said...
Northern,
I guess I have been doubling up a lot, but never realized it.

Janet & Bangchik,
I am usually pretty excited about a new plant and can't imagine this happening.