Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A Sunflower Story

image of a peacock butterfly on purple buddleia

I really love summer with a passion, and this year it's been a good 'un. It's been flip flops on for the majority of the time, and the flora and fauna have been particularly spectacular - especially the abundance of butterflies and bees. 

image of sunflower

Meet 'Goldie' (obligatory name chosen by my 5 year old daughter. She planted the seed in her class project then brought the tiny plantlet home for us to nurture). It's our first home grown giant sunflower - what a whopper! It attracted sooo many bees and insects - I never knew until now that the centre circle of the flower is composed of hundreds of tiny little flowers obviously where all the lovely nectar and pollen is housed. The flowers on the outside of the circle open first, the following ring of flowers are next to open...see in the picture above it has still some way to go. You can see how the flowers are gradually opening towards the centre circle in the photo below. We would all gaze at it in wonder each day...nature certainly bowled us over with this one.

image of sunflower

It just kept getting bigger and bigger.

image of mature sunflower

Until it became top heavy and droopy. On a windy day I did fear it was going to topple over but it never did I'm delighted to say. I do believe that bee is the same one on every photo. One evening I went out into the garden just to take in a lung full of sweet summer air, and to watch the bats swooping and chasing each other around the house. I had my LED headlamp on (always wear it when I'm crocheting of a night- a super bit of kit) so was able to take a closer look at Goldie in the dark and that same bee was still there. I did think it was dead but it shied away from my touch when I stroked it's furry back... must have been fast asleep.

This beautiful sunflower is now a mere shadow of her former self. All the tiny flowers are going to seed - her glory days are over. It's funny how something as simple as growing a sunflower can bring so much joy and happiness. It's so sad to see it this way, but there will be next year to look forward to so that we can nurture her off-spring, and the race will be on in my household to see who can grow the biggest. Here's hoping we have a long row of these beauties along my garden wall...finger's crossed!

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