I love sunflowers; they bring smiles to my face. I also love roasted sunflower seeds. Because of their decorative and culinary characters, sunflowers have always earned a place in my garden every year.
This year, I sowed two varieties directly in the ground in May: one with white seeds (variety name not noted, seeds brought home by my daughter from school) and the other one with black seeds (seeds from China). Both are supposed to produce tall plants with giant seed heads. I had grown the white one last year with success. This is an amazing variety with either huge seed heads 30 cm in diameter with big, full white seeds; or produces lots of side shoots with pure yellow flowers.
One of the plants produced more than 36 side shoots last year, an absolute record in my sunflower growing history! The black one is new to me. Both varieties turned out to be really fast growers. By mid July, they had grown to their full size of 2.5-3 m tall; producing bunches of side shoots with beautiful flowers. I thinned some side shoots out (flowers in the vase of course), hoping to get bigger single seed heads. It didn’t help much, the heads remained small, the size of only a football or smaller. There were a few exceptions though for both the white and the black varieties, those produced giant seed heads the size bigger than a basketball with big seeds. Some of them have been harvested last weekend:
As far as the flowers are concerned, I consider it a successful year. The glorious blushes of bright yellow flowers on the plants and their side shoots brightened this year’s already gloomy and cloudy summer days up for a very long time. But on the seed side of the story, it’s of a disappointment really. I blame mainly the constant rainy weather and cooler temperature this year for their poor performance, and hope that they would amaze me the way the white one did last year if we are to be blessed with drier and sunnier days next summer.