Sunday, 4 September 2016

Happy sunflowers

The time for colourful summer flowers is over, anything remotely summery is safely ensconced in my new greenhouse (I'll tell you about that next time!). So I thought a few cheerful sunflower photos would brighten our chilly, damp day. 

Sunflowers face the sun as it rises in the east, and follow it until it sets in the west. This fascinating process is called heliotropism, and mainly occurs in young flower heads. Once sunflowers mature and bloom they droop from the weight of the seeds and end up mostly facing east for the rest of their lifecycle 

I've never studied sunflowers before, I guess because I've never planted so many before, but it's pretty cool how the green bracts form a spiral, ready to reveal their golden beauty inside

Here it comes....

Ta-dah! Just look how the bees love them, they always seem to be teeming with fuzzy bumble bees. Honey bees like sunflowers too, but I haven't seen many. Mind you, I hardly seem to see honey bees anywhere now. I used to keep bees, but unfortunately developed a severe allergy to bee venom so had to give it up. Such a shame, as honey bees are in decline, and we need more people to keep bees, not less. 
Bees are important insects for sunflowers, as they are their primary pollinators. 

Just look at the whopper of a bumble bee on this one. It was HuGe!!!!

They don't look quite so good when they lose their sunny halo, and I was tempted to cut them down but I know the birds love the seeds, so I guess they stay for now. I must remember to keep some to grow for next year, before they all get gobbled up. 

I took this last photo only a few days ago, the main big flower has been cut off and the cold weather has shrivelled the leaves, but it is still trying to flower in November!

As I was taking photos a train went past and I thought I'd include this photo to show just how close they are - we have trains going along the top of our fence (well not really, they are up a bank, but it looks like they do doesn't it)! You do get used to it after a few weeks, and it's great for little people. Whenever Little Boy is in the garden and he hears a train coming he runs to an old tree stump we have, climbs up on top and waves to the train!

I'll leave you with a fascinating fact - did you know the tallest sunflower ever grown was 9.17m (30ft 1in), grown in 2014 in Germany by Hans-Peter Schiffer?! Think I need a bit more practice to get anywhere near that good, my tallest was 14ft 😀


1 comment:

  1. I think sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers - always so cheerful. 14 ft is impressive enough for me! xx