Back in April, I planted some sunflower seeds. They started off brilliantly, and grew quickly, so I had high hopes when I planted them. I tend to categorise my gardening years as being ‘good for –‘ and this year has been very good for slugs, which ate all the seedlings within a few days of them being planted out.
June saw me try again, and although I planted another three seedlings between the tomatoes, only one made it past the metre high stage without being eaten or broken by pigeons.
I wasn’t particularly bothered with having sunflowers, and was really just using some seeds my sister gave me, but as it got a bit bigger, it became much more interesting. I found myself fascinated by the structure of the leaves. You might say, it grew on me.*
I’ve kept a close watch on it, unsure if I planted it too late for it to flower.
Recently, I noticed that the main bud was beginning to open. I freely acknowledge my weaknesses as a photographer, but have still had lots of fun in the last few days, snapping away and trying to capture all the things I like about it.
Fun is a Very Good Thing. To say that this year has not been an especially enjoyable one would be an understatement. Depression had shrunk my world to the point where I didn’t often leave the confines of the house and garden, and was losing the ability to take enjoyment in anything I’d grown. There hasn’t been a lot of fun.
It would seem that my sunflower has magical properties, though, as I realised to my surprise, one day, that I was mentally plotting how I was going to grow them next year. They’ve got me out in the garden and seeing in colour again. Funny how one small seed can produce something which, to me, has become so significant.
If it didn’t mean standing on top of some steps, clearly visible to my neighbours above the hedge, as well as anyone taking the main road out of town, I’d probably still be out there trying to take some more.
Tomorrow is another day, though, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there with the camera. I intend to appreciate the crap out of every single day of my sunflower and once it’s over, I’ll be cutting the head off to try to save the seeds. There are two smaller buds which might open later, as well.
It’s horribly clichéd but the sunflower’s been used as a symbol of hope for a while. Nobody is more surprised than I am to find that it’s given me back mine.
*You might say that, but I reserve the right to turn the hose on you.