Friday, December 23, 2005

Summer Sunflower

A project during last summer was growing this sunflower from seed. First developinging into a seedling in the spring it was progressively potted on as it grew. During early summer it had a spell in the greenhouse to protect it from a spell of highwinds and rain. It then outgrew the greenhouse and I kept it sheltered until the weather allowed me to keep it in the open. Its final resting place afforded it a lot of shelter should the weather had gotten a bit nasty, the trees and fench kept a lot of the weather off it. As you can see, fully grown it reaches 10 foot and is above the height of the trees its next to.

I had a problem with keeping it upright, when the flower head had developed it was very top heavy and even a slight breeze could cause it to bend. I used various methods to keep it from snapping, starting off with canes and finally tieing it to nearby tree post. The top heavy weight ment that it was also prone to tipping the pot over, I ended up buying a heavy duty clay pot and added extra weight to keep it secure to the ground.

It flowers quite quickly, around two weeks before the the flower is spent. If you can afford the space keep the sun flower as the seed head then develops. When I finally cut the flower done, I kept the stalk, it will be a useful support for the future. The flower head you have to remove the brown surface to get at the seeds, its a messy job then removing all the seeds but for a flower of this size you will normally get hundreds. I feed all mine to the local bird population.


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