Monday, May 21, 2007

Symbol of Summer

My Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) bloomed today. When I was a kid, I thought Sunflowers were weeds. I never saw them growing in a garden, only on irrigation ditch banks, along roadways or in alfalfa fields. It never occurred to me to add them to my garden, but someone gave me a package of seeds, so I planted three seeds, just for old time's sake. I didn't want any more because Sunflowers require more water than the other varieties of flowers I have in that planting area. In addition they attract birds that eat the seeds that form in the flower's center and I didn't want a mess on my sidewalk.

There is something sweet and old-fashioned about a Sunflower. It is the state flower of Kansas, and it grows throughout North America. What I always thought of as a weed is actually a plant of many uses. It provides a healthy cooking oil, animal food, silage, and those familiar sunflower seeds the birds and we eat. Sunflowers are, I think, the perfect symbol that summer has arrived.

"What is a weed? A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
~ Emerson

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