Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The evolution of our first sunflower

If you follow me on Instagram (GrayDayStudio) than you might know how I grew to become obsessed with watching our first ever sunflower grow this season. I'll admit that in the past I felt that sunflowers were a slightly cliche overused symbol, but after this summer I've grown to love them and see many sunflowers in my future!

So in order to share the awe I experienced while watching our sunflower grow, I put together a little pictorial evolution. See more after the jump.

Our sunflower came to us by chance, it was a little project our nephew started one sunday in sunday school. They planted sunflowers from seeds in little styrofoam cups... and one sunday he gave us his little plant. We kept it out in the yard until it seemed too cramped for its cup and we decided to plant it... We chose to plant it next to the natural tepee I built for our toddler. You can barely see it to the left of the tepee surrounded by two sticks. (here is my niece and daughter right after we planted the sunflower on May 11th.)

Our dog Millie checks out the lettuce and spinach crop, and you can see the sunflower taking off in the background. (May 26th)

And our daughter with the sunflower on July 2nd.

Myself hamming it up with the sunflower on July 11th, it grew so much in 9 days!

at night on July 17th.

July 21st, the sunflower is beginning to show signs of yellow. It grew so tall at this point I had to stand on our raised vegetable bed to see what was happening up top.

By July 23rd, she was almost fully open...

July 24th, Open and being enjoyed by a honeybee.

In full sun and glory (July 24th).

Later that night we decided to get an official measurement- around 100 inches, over 8 feet tall!

Then, just two days later on July 26th, as the bees began to continue to open her up, she grew heavy and began to droop.

The next day, her head is sooo heavy she stares at the ground. (July 27th)

July 28th, she seems to speak to the toddler about her life so far and her 1.5 days of glorious time in the sun.

July 30th, after taking a beating from the hale storm, the Husband and I take turns propping her up by tying her to a large dead branch, used as a stake.

July 31st, now that all of her flowers are open, the bees don't visit anymore.

August 2nd, tied and battered with holes in her leaves from the hail storm... continuing to droop

August 13th, her yellow flowers are drying and raining down in a confetti shower to the ground. We read about how to dry the seeds to eat or to replant next year... so we decide to cut her down, to dry her inside away from squirrels and other hungry critters.

"So sad, so sad, sometimes she feels so sad..."
First we cut her away from the rope and stake propping her up.

Daughter and husband take turns lightly brushing the yellow flowers off the sunflower, revealing the seeds beneath.

August 13th, after the flowers are removed all of the seeds are visible. I do the honors and cut our sunflower down. Continually amazed by its size, a little self take is needed to show the scale. Now it hangs drying in our bedroom, with a brown paper bag over it to capture any falling seeds. I know we will taste a few seeds when the time comes, but we will also plant many sunflowers from seed... I'm also scheming up a little seed giveaway project where I will share seeds with friends made through twitter- scattering the seeds around the country to see how they grow next year... working on a name and a hashtag... but it's going to be epic.

If you made it this far in my blog post, thanks so much for reading... It was really fun to watch something grow so huge so quickly, to only last a short while in the sun, to offer up so much for the bees, and to watch the bees in turn help to open up the sunflower for the eventual revealing of the seeds... for the process to repeat itself year after year. pretty remarkable.

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