Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Pictures IV - Sunflowers

Along with the modest vegetable garden we planted, I also planted some flowers. Why not? Everybody likes flowers. I'd never grown them before, but I decided to grow some sunflowers. I tried a variety of sunflowers. Maybe a half dozen different types.

I haven't been dutifully recording the progress of each variety as any self-respecting gardener probably would, but I'm sort of new to the whole concept of having land, and I haven't fully adapted to the concept since I don't believe it will last. There's also the fact that I spent the majority of my life dwelling in arid deserts where land was often plentiful but growing non-desert plants was usually much more trouble than it was worth (because I am lazy). It was probably out of necessity, but I learned to respect the innate beauty and sheer will to live expressed by most desert plants. Heck, even cactuses and yucca plants have flowers to enjoy.

Anyway, back to the sunflowers. Not only are sunflowers pretty with their large green stalks and colorful flowers, they also attract and support a variety of bird and insect life. You'll see a couple of picture below where I attempted to capture some of that. Also, I'm not going to list each variety's name. Except for the last variety shown below, I'm just going to post some pictures without more comment (because I am lazy).

The one sunflower that I will make an exception to point out is called, I believe, a chianti hybrid. The flower has a wonderfully dark but warm color. In full sunlight, the petals glow from within. These photos don't really do it justice.

While the flower is first growing, it looks a lot like any other sunflower with thick green stalks. However, as the plant matures and it gets ready to bloom, a dark color begins to work its way up the plant. Before long the stalk and the veins in the leaves have this dark color. All the darker colored flowers do this to a certain extent, but for these very dark flowers, the total effect of the dark color is slightly sinister (but very beautiful). If I ever grow sunflowers again, I will grow some of these, and I will make the patch as large as I can. You know, to warn off the neighbors.

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