Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunflower Seasons

  This season is long and stretches from March to October where I live.  I start sprouting the seeds in early to mid March and then move them into small cups.  In April the rain is pouring and I dig up the ground, being amazed each year at how thickly covered with grass and weeds it has become over the winter here.  Some years the ground is rock hard, but this spring was so wet it was more like trying too dig in chocolate pudding.

 When I put the seedlings in the ground the first year I was here, I was stunned to find they all vanished overnight.  16 years later I am ruthless on the slugs and snails.  This year they mostly won anyway.  I planted 60 sunflowers and got 9 flowers to reach blooming.  The rain washed away most of the slug bait before I even got back in the house.

 Being addicted to Big's Dill pickle sunflower seeds, I don't eat the seeds I grow, those extend the season and entertain by attracting the clownlike acrobatics of Stellars Jays, and usually volunteer sunflowers mean I get more plants than I actually planted.

 Last year the summer was grey and foggy and the flowers grew but were thin and tall and as soon as they had blooms they couldn't stay standing.

 I never know quite what I will get, but this is one of those things I do for both the routine and the surprise.  I love the little moments of surprising joy that the flash of yellow and the shriek of Jays provide to my Fall, but I also love the green sprout from a dry seed and the seedling that has finally become big enough to resist the snails on its own.  I love the reminder of the passage of time and the reminder that the more things change, the more they stay predictably the same.

 To anyone else who enjoys the common glory of the sunflower.  Have a blessed season because each season brings its own beauty.  Even the season of waiting in the dark to begin to grow again.