Sunflower Tour! Lessons Learned.
My sunflowers have given me so much joy this season. With the exception of the Mammoth Sunflower, they have been relatively fuss free, and provided big impact in the garden. There’s nothing better than yellow in the garden in the late summer, and the sunflower does the trick so effortlessly and so beautifully.
In the video, you will see that I have described the four types of sunflowers that I have in my garden: Sunfinity Sunflower, Suncredible Sunflower, Mammoth Sunflower, and Rudbeckia (Not really a sunflower – a coneflower – watch the video to see the difference!)
I’ve written about the Mammoth Sunflower previously, because I have had several serious emergencies that have imperiled their little (now big!) lives. But the Mammoth Sunflower has also taught me two important gardening lessons.
Lesson #1: Plants can heal. One of the Mammoth Sunflowers, when he was about 6 feet tall (he’s now almost 12!) had a serious accident. He broke in half. The trunk, which at the time was about an inch and a half in circumference, broke and the plant simply fell over, with his head on the ground, and his stalk, attached to the upright trunk by only a millimeter of plant fiber. I was devastated. But I sprung into action.
I immediately placed the broken top part of the sunflower stalk (about 3 feet) on top of the rooted trunk (also about three feet tall). I wrapped the stalk at the break with garden tape to give it some strength, and encourage it to stay together. I then staked the plant with a very tall rod, so that it was securely affixed in an upright position, at several points along its height. Then, I watered it very well. And I continued to water it twice a day for several days. (Here’s a video I did that explains this with visuals.)
At first it was quite droopy and I did not know if it would make it. After two days, I remember saying to Robert, I’m 60% sure this is going to work! And now, almost two weeks later, the little guy who broke in half has almost caught up in height to the tallest sunflower in the bunch, and seems healthy and prepared to bloom!
When this happened, I did no research, and I had no idea what I was doing, except to use my instinct about what might be best for the plant. So to see that it is surviving and thriving is all the more satisfying.
Lesson #2: Always give plants a chance when they don’t follow normal growth patterns. The second little sunflower, has a serious crook in his stem. He grew crooked, (that’s another story) but I did not give up on him. I staked him too – though I could not stake him straight because it would have broken him, so, I just let him grow as best he could. And now, he’s still a little crooked, but he’s straightened up a little as he reaches for the sun, and he’s very green and happy. I think he will flower like the others even though he’s growing a little sideways.
Plants are like human beings, in some ways, aren’t they? They thrive with care, they are resilient and can heal from breaks, and they have their own individual journeys, though they may thrive differently than others.
Just more reasons why I like my time in the garden so much.