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Posts Tagged ‘Wildseed Farms’

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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Yes, I just put the words “chocolate” and “flower” together and it was neither a mistake nor an edible creation I whipped up in the kitchen. When I saw this packet of seeds at Wildseed Farms it was a no-brainer. I mean, hello.
chocolate flowers This is their second year (they reseed) and they’re still slightly mind-boggling.
They’re not the most beautiful things in the world–a little sloppy, maybe?–but first thing in the morning the smell of chocolate is intense. Not chocolate like Hershey’s, chocolate like cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder, at that. Yum.

And I do like the way they look next to my birdbath:

birdbath & chocolate flowers

Blue & yellow--such a happy color combination

Better Homes & Gardens has a whole slideshow of chocolate plants of one kind or another. I already have two of them–my hot cocoa roses will be featured on a future Friday. BH&G claims chocolate flowers get to be 8 inches tall, but mine are easily three times that high. I’m thinking of adding some cute little trellis-y thing, maybe one of the Eiffel Tower variety, to keep them off their neighbors.

Of course, I’m also thinking of where I could put an entire chocolate garden, but that’s another story. Happy Friday!

P.S. Links provided for your convenience, not a sponsored post.

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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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