Year of the Sunflower Update

One walk past my yard this time of year and you would definitely know that

I love daylilies!

To this gardener, a daylily just says “summer is here!”

When the heat of August arrives and most daylilies have finished strutting their summer beauty in Midwest gardens, another flower is poised to shout the news heralding “Summer’s not over just yet!”

The sunflower!

Sunflowers are charming – they make me smile. So, why do I rarely plant them in my gardens? Squirrels will occasionally steal some seed absconded from the birdfeeders and bury them willy-nilly in the yard, so I do get the occasional volunteer.

I am thankful my hubby surprised me earlier this summer with several packages of sunflower seeds, paving the way for 2021 to be the Year of the Sunflower at my house. At the end of that post I wrote:

We have a HUGE bunny population this year, so I won’t be surprised if my smattering of sunflower seedlings become their next snack. However, I hope they will save me at least a few to provide late summer splendor and autumnal color. I’ll keep you posted. 

Cindie Winquist, in the “Year of the Sunflower”

So, here I am again, keeping you posted.

I planted those gifted seeds a little later than I should have, but faithfully watered. Heavy spring rains threatened to drown them, and the heat and drought conditions that followed seemed to bring them to their demise. After nearly three weeks, they finally poked their little green heads above the earth! Then, seemingly overnight, those little seedlings made their way skyward. Even the forgetful gardener’s failure to keep them consistently watered didn’t seem to deter their growth.

One fateful night last week, as predicted, the resident bunnies decided they would make a smorgasbord out of the young sunflowers. Even though we had surrounded the raised beds with a plastic grid of garden fencing, they managed to find their way into the midnight buffet line in one of two raised beds of sunflowers.

They filled their bunny bellies and left one solitary sunflower and a few stalks standing.

The garden crashers came back the following night and polished off the remaining bits for dessert. You might notice in the photo below how the bunny leaned in on the fencing to finish it off.

They came back for dessert the next night

Thankfully, you can also see in the background of the photo above one raised bed of sunflowers they have not yet marauded.

Stay tuned…there’s still hope!

Jennifer K Cook

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