The sun has set in our vegetable garden.  For the past few months, our sunflowers have brightened up the garden with their sunny faces. 


It seems like just yesterday that my daughter, Ruthie and I planted the seeds (actually it was March).  We planted them near the fence so that it would be easy to support them once they grew tall.



Once planted they started to grow quickly…


I couldn’t wait to see the blooms begin to form…


It seemed to take a long time…but with flowers so large they probably can’t be rushed.


The unopened blooms were far more interesting that I had imagined.  There were so many sepals (leaves) around the bloom and I could already imagine how beautiful it would be.

I wasn’t disappointed….



Did you know that sunflowers point east towards the sunrise?  As the sun moves during the day, they follow the sun.  However, once the flowers mature, they stay facing east.  I need to remember that when I am lost next time and will hopefully find a sunflower growing somewhere (not too likely).

We enjoyed the bright sunny face of our largest sunflower until she began to droop and fade….



You can see why we planted her against the fence.  It provides the perfect support for the large flower, now full of developing sunflower seeds.



It is now time for us to cut off the spent flower and continue to let the seeds mature.

I must admit that I am kind of sad to see her life end, but I am grateful for the time we had to enjoy her sunny beauty.  My kids aren’t sad at all….they can’t wait for the seeds to be ready for us to roast and for them to eat.  I will save a few seeds to plant again for next season.

I can’t wait to grow sunflowers again.  They are such a great plant for the kids to grow because the seeds are large enough for them to handle easily, the plants and flowers grow so large and you get to enjoy sunflower seeds at the end 🙂
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

25 replies
  1. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    Hi Noelle..I LOVE sunflowers..your photos are magical! yes..i found that out one summer..all my sunflowers were not facing me.haha….it was kinda funny! but they are so gorgeous..i think it is the simplicity of them! Thanks for spotlighting one of my fave flower friends!
    Happy gardening and hope you are enjoying your summer!
    Kiki~

    Reply
  2. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    Your sunflower is (was) beautiful. I think my favorite part is when it's beginning to open. I like the patterns the immature seeds take in the center. And the mature seeds are the great gift she leaves you. Nice post!!

    Reply
  3. Rebecca @ In The Garden
    Rebecca @ In The Garden says:

    Beautiful post with great pictures! I have planted a single sunflower from seed this year for the first time. I'm a little disheartened that they always face east, since mine is planted against the west wall of the house! The bud is forming, hopefully it will open soon. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    Years ago when I taught nursery school I had the class plant sunflower seeds in paper cups to take home with them for the summer. After a few months I received a photo in the mail of one of the little girls standing beside her sunflower – which was much taller than she was! I hope that little girl is still planting sunflower seeds.

    Reply
  5. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    Don't you love the season of sunflowers?!! They come up every spring in and around my bird garden. I let a few grow to maturity just because they have the coolest flowers. Some grow to ginormous heights and girths. Sadly, I never have any past June. It's fun while it lasts.

    Reply
  6. Candy "Sweetstuff"
    Candy "Sweetstuff" says:

    I never knew the face east thing. That is a cool factoid. Those sunflowers are so beautiful. I just love them. I took some pictures of sunflowers that were in the agriculture area of the State fair last year. They are so awesome and roasting the seeds…..yum!

    Reply
  7. Teresa O
    Teresa O says:

    Your sunflower looked so happy! I can't wait for ours to bloom. The buds are big and I can see a bit of yellow. We planted four different varieties, but only three came up. It does seem to take forever for the big flowers bloom.

    Reply
  8. Carol
    Carol says:

    How fun to see the sequence of bud to bloom and now the seeds to harvest. I love to see the fresh seeds and note how white they are when fresh. I have in the past (the rabbits will not let me have sunflowers now) left a few flowers standing and enjoyed seeing the birds pick them for themselves. Great photos! Sunflowers are so cheery.

    Reply
  9. Diana (Di)
    Diana (Di) says:

    Noelle, they are a great plant for adults too! 🙂 I love them, but must admit have not planted any for several years. Next years list: plant sunflowers again… that among my increasing list of "to do"s.

    Reply
  10. Rosie
    Rosie says:

    Noelle I never knew that about them facing east – I've only ever grown them once in the garden – I think my eldest brought a little seedling home that he had grown in school. I think I should try and grow some next year even if its just to have some seed for the birds to peck on. There is a sale on in our local garden centre and all seeds are now 50p – thats dirt cheap – I must have a look for some sunflower seeds.

    Reply
  11. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    …and Noelle, the arrangement of the sunflower seeds in the stalk follows the Fibonacci number pattern, amazing indeed! BTW, how is your son who had some difficulty with his legs, sorry i forgot his name and hasn't followed much. thanks and regards to him.

    Reply
  12. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, Yes, I agree that Sunflowers are such cheery flowers to grow. i do think that they are particularly rewarding for children who can quickly see a result from just a seed.

    In Hungary, sunflowers are grown as a commercial crop and the fields at present are an amazing sight with countless thousands of sunny yellow faces glowing across the countrside.

    Reply
  13. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    I gave my grandson some sunflower seeds. He planted them and Sunday I'll go to see them. They are a great flower for kids to grow. Florists are using them more and more in arrangements. Our Church bouquets have sunflowers included sometimes.

    Reply
  14. lostlandscape (James)
    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Even past its prime your sunflower looks great. Nothing says "summer" better than this plant! My work had a little picnic thing with sunflowers on every table. It really helped things feel like high August even though it was probably less than 70 degrees and blustery…

    Reply
  15. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Sunflowers are so beautiful. I can't think of a better plant for a children's veggie garden. You get easy-to-handle seeds, amazing height and movement, sunny beauty, and then… a great healthy snack. You did such a good job, Noelle! 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *