Posts Tagged ‘sunflowers’

Sunflower I don’t know about you but sunflowers just make me happy. They always look like they’re smiling.

Last year I had gorgeous multicolored beauties; some were burgundy, some were orange-y…but apparently they didn’t reseed. (Clearly another trip to Wildseed Farms is in order.) Considering the hotter-than-hades drought-ridden summer we’ve had, I’m just happy anything came up. But look, they did!

sunflowers & shed

I love how they peek around the corner of the shed.

On a random note, how do you like the little bucket on the shed door? It was the only good thing that came out of a trip to Williamsburg Pottery, a place whose marketing team is wildly underpaid, no matter how much they make. Huge, impressive ad and write up–completely underwhelming experience. I got two of those buckets, one for each door, which was the only thing that kept our visit from being a complete waste of time. But I digress…

My sunflowers, bless their hearts, come up all by themselves, thrive despite the fact that I never water them and we’re in serious drought, and are just fun, friendly, casual blooms. Not only that, they’re the perfect blooms to display in my lovely new vase from Jamestown Pottery. sunflowers in vase
Happy sunflowers . . . Happy Friday!

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I seem to have lost my Aflac flyer. A period of mourning will now commence. (To find out why, click here.)

My hammock chair is quite possibly the best purchase I’ve made in the last 12 months. Swinging gently in the breeze, cradled in my chair, is like being cuddled in palm of God’s hand.

Hammock chair

I test-drove this one in Provincetown, but mine is blue

The roses are all doing just fine, thank you very much. Blooming industriously, just as they should.

Honey Perfume roses

Honey Perfume Roses from my garden

My sunflower patch actually has sunflowers this year! (As opposed to last year—click here to read about that little adventure in gardening.)

My sunflower patch

My sunflower patch

I have a mixture of happy yellow and these glorious orange/rust/burgundy colors. All good.

I love iced tea more than any other food or drink. Yes, even more than chocolate. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think to myself (after all, who else would I think to?) “I’m now going to drink copious amounts of iced tea.” I drink mine with lemon. No sugar, artificial sweetener, plant-based sweetener or anything even remotely sweet. (Sweet tea: Ick. Pooh. Bleah.) My whole family (the blood relatives, anyway) drink it that way. Apparently this stems from the sugar rationing imposed during WWII when my great-grandfather declared that we didn’t need to waste precious sugar on tea. I come from a long line of good cooks, so I’m betting he wanted it all used for desserts.

Although this has been a remarkably wet and relatively cool summer for North Texas, it’s really just too darn hot right now to do anything. Except swing in my hammock chair, preferably in the early morning and/or late evening hours. I can see my roses and sunflowers from there. The best case scenario includes a tall glass of iced tea to sip while I chat with God and admire the view.

So that’s what I’m going to do now.

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There’s a sunflower patch behind the shed in my backyard. It came up on its own in my early days at this address, but after the tender ministrations of an over-enthusiastic yard guy (he mistook my sunflowers for weeds and weedwhacked them down to nubs), it needed a little help. So last year, on a trip to the beautiful Texas Hill Country, I stopped by Wildseed Farms and bought a packet of sunflower seeds. Mammoth Grey Stripe, to be exact.

Here's what I planted . . .

Here's what I planted . . .

When the time was right for planting, I carefully sowed my seeds according to the directions on the packet, watered, and waited. Oh, and this year I put up a little iron fence to alert Yard Guy that it was a protected area. Sure enough, some time later, a mess of matching plants sprouted in my little garden.

I was thrilled. They didn’t look exactly like the sunflowers from previous years, but I figured they were a different variety so that made sense. I watered them. I nurtured them. I watched them grow to eye level (about 5’3” in my case). They were healthy, happy plants.

Just one problem. They didn’t look like sunflowers. Now I’m no botanical expert, but I compared my plants to the sunflowers growing wild alongside the road and my now-blooming backyard leftovers—and they didn’t look ANYTHING alike.

Here's what I expect to grow.

Here's what I expect to grow.

Fortunately, it was time for another trip to the Hill Country. I cut off an 8” section of the mystery plant, sealed it in a baggie with my Mammoth Grey Strip seed packet, and headed back to Wildseed Farms. Upon arrival, I produced Exhibit A. The staff was stymied. They didn’t recognize my mystery plant, but all agreed—it was NOT a sunflower. They gave me a replacement package of seeds, took down my contact info, and promised to call once their experts had reached a conclusion.

The next day I got the call. The nice lady on the phone explained their expert botanic forensic investigation had determined that I must not have planted the original seeds deeply enough. Birds, being fond of sunflower seeds, had doubtless eaten them all. The tall, lush, green plants now waving gently in the breeze behind my shed were, in fact . . . weeds.

How humiliating is that? I had been looking after these darn things for months. Pampering them. Talking to them. The whole shebang. And all along they were just weeds.

In professional kitchens, to say you’re “in the weeds” means you’re in trouble—running behind and rapidly losing hope you’ll ever catch up. (Ever feel that way?) Often this is a result of poor time management—spending too much time fooling around or fussing over non-essentials. This is also true outside the kitchen where we daily deal with the question of priorities: is this activity, attitude, relationship, whatever, worthy of the time and attention I’m giving it? Is it a flower or only a weed?

I guess the moral of the story is when something doesn’t look or feel right—in your garden or your life—check it out. If it’s a weed, pull it out while it’s still small and the roots aren’t very deep. If it’s a flower, nurture it. If you can’t tell, seek the advice and counsel of someone with more wisdom and experience than you.

How does your garden grow?

P.S. Just to be fair, I believe it was noted British gardener Alan Titchmarsh (of Ground Force fame) who said, “A weed is just a plant in the wrong place.” I’m sure my whatever-they-ares behind the shed would be fabulous . . . somewhere. In my sunflower patch, not so much. So just because something is a weed in your life doesn’t mean it’s inherently evil. It could be the star in someone else’s bouquet.

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