Sunflowers!

sunflower5It’s safe to say that sunflowers are my favorite flower in the garden. They’re the favorite of many gardeners as well and a sure symbol of summer. Growing well over 6 feet tall (well, most varieties anyway), sunflowers are the happy guardians of the garden. I grow them every year. Even when I lived in an apartment and my garden consisted of pots on my tiny patio, sunflowers were always one of the plants I grew.

Seeds or starts?

I typically always start my sunflowers from seed. They’re very easy to grow so it’s often not worth the bother or expense of purchasing starts. The exception was last year when I waited too long to get the seeds in and had to buy a six-pack of sunflower starts just to ensure I had these sunny flowers in my garden.

 

Bring the sunshine inside

Although in past years I was reluctant to cut my sunflowers, I’ve started doing so and bringing the cuttings inside. Typically, I choose to plant the sunflowers varieties that ‘branch’ so I will still have flowers on the plant, even after I cut a stem to cheer up my home.

 

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Boost Your Mood in the Garden

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Plant sunflowers–they’re easy to grow and are good for wildlife and your mood!

Now is the time to started planning your garden. And, while you’re planning, think about your mood. If you’re prone to the blues, or just want more energy, plant vegetables and herbs that will give you a boost.

I saw this article from Rodale’s Organic Life, Fight Depression by Growing a Good-Mood Garden. I don’t know about you, but gardening always puts me in a good mood. The combination of being outdoors, digging in the dirt and seeing the (literal) fruits of my labor on a daily basis puts everything else in perspective. Sometimes when you’re stressed, all you need is a spade and some weeds to get your aggression out.

The article recommends the following mood-boosting crops to plant:
Swiss chard
Blue potatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Black-eyed peas
Oregano
Sunflowers
Chamomile
Evening primrose
Lavender
St. John’s wort

Of these, the only ones I grow are sunflowers and lavender. Tomatoes don’t grow well where I live, although I do have some luck growing them inside the sunporch. However, I will have to add blue potatoes and chamomile to the list—the benefit of the latter is that I can also make a tea from it.

While it’s best to continue to take any medication you’ve been prescribed for your moods, adding these to your garden can only help. Get out in the sunshine and get planting!

 

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Cheer up your garden with a few edible flowers

Everyone needs sunflowers in their gardens.

Everyone needs sunflowers in their gardens.

Piggy-backing on last week’s post, I found a great resource on MarthaStewart.com with a list of edible flowers. I’m growing borage, calendula, marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies, sunflowers, roses and violets and plan to add chrysanthemum and tulips into my garden next year. Unfortunately, I also have a lot of dandelions as well.

Calendula is a fun and colorful addition to the garden.

Calendula is a fun and colorful addition to the garden.

Add a splash of purple to your garden.

Add a splash of purple to your garden.

What will you plant in your garden?

Sunflowers!

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There’s nothing like a sunflower to inspire hope. Sunflowers start out as small (and tasty) seeds and will grow upwards of 8 feet when planted in the ground. I plant this sunflower and its friends when we first moved into our house in May. It’s about 9 feet tall right now. Over the past few weeks I’ve been staring at the bud waiting for it—practically willing it—to open. While the buds of the other flowers haven’t opened yet, this one is the reigning queen of the garden with a flower the size of a large dinner plate.

Perhaps next year I’ll turn the lawn by my office into an entire field of sunflowers.