Don’t you just love sunflowers? Doesn’t everybody? And as for mine, I don’t know for a fact that the sunflowers have cost me $50 — it might be more; I’m hoping it’s less. I’ll find out next month when I get the water bill.
I’ve wanted to plant sunflowers ever since I saw them in a neighbor’s yard a few years back, but I always forget until it’s too late. But not this year!
Sometime in March I actually remembered and went to the nursery. Problem is, I haven’t bought seeds for years. They used to be 39¢, then they went up to 79¢. Of course, that was in the 90s. How about $2.59? For a packet of seeds. SEEDS. Not a pot of flowers, just a little envelope with seeds. Okay, okay, I know — I’m still living in the last century. Anyway …
I came home and planted them by the back fence where I’d be able to see them from the dining room window — big, bright sunflowers! Once that was done, I still had a handful of seeds left over. I got a bright idea: “I’ll put them in the front yard by the driveway. Won’t that be lovely? Everyone driving by can see them and when I look out the kitchen window I’ll be greeted by a flock sunflowers.” Great idea! I planted them carefully and was thrilled when the little guys started coming up — both front and back.
Then came the distressing chore of thinning them. Oh, how I hate that — which ones will I let grow and which will be tossed into the trash? Fortunately — or un — I only had to do this in the front. The ones in the back were spindly and sparse. Too much shade. Here in the desert? Yeah, I’ve worked to make my yard a shady oasis with the result that the sun loving plants won’t grow. The ones by the driveway thrived, however, reaping the benefit of full sun and growing tall and sturdy. By mid-June they were eye-level and getting bigger every day and THEN, the hot weather hit. Day after day of 113 and more with only a slight respite into the 90s at night. The tall plants started to droop. Not only were they getting hours of direct afternoon sun, but the heat was reflecting off the house. They were literally baking.
The were now well over 6 feet and I could see the flowers were forming, but the leaves were drying up. I began watering them morning and night, running out to move the hose every 8 minutes (I set a timer), but by mid-afternoon, they were drooping again. The big leaves turned brown and crispy. Still I kept pouring water on them, determined to keep them alive. Finally, last weekend, I realized that I was using gallons of water — and gallons of money — for a very small pay-off. Reluctantly, I stopped watering all but the two biggest plants.
I got my sunflowers — two of them. They’re bright and beautiful just like I wanted. I’ll find out just how much they cost once I get the water bill.
In the meantime, I’m already thinking … hmm … if I planted them on the other side of the driveway in front of the oleanders, they’d be shaded from the worst of the afternoon sun and hey, wouldn’t the big yellow flowers look lovely right in front of the wall of pink oleanders? Something to think about.
In the meantime, I’m off to Trader Joe’s to buy a bouquet of sunflowers. What the heck, if I can’t grow my own, I’ll just buy what I want. (Yes, still talking about sunflowers.)