I’m crazy about sunflowers. The “big” ones. There’s something about the size of a sunflower that accentuates its complexity. When possible, I like to raise sunflowers from seed. This first photo represents the way I’d always thought of them. Yellow, bright, strong and independent. Having grown them for several years, I can confirm that they’re all of that and more.
Sunflowers take a lot of babying before they’re ready to be released into the wild. You start them inside as seeds and water them carefully until they sprout- carrying the seed shell on their heads until it pops off. If you keep them inside too long, they grow crooked, turn yellow, and ultimately wither away. If you transplant them outside too soon, they fall over and croak. If you tie them up too quickly to steady their stems, the tie binds them and they fall over and croak. Under water them and they wilt, discolor, and then croak.
It’s not rocket science- you have to be patient! Not an easy virtue. Start, and sow them carefully and here’s what you get. A stunning plant much taller than you- reachable only by ladder. How did THAT happen? Each towering plant is topped by a single giant flower that opens slowly in its own time, migrating from dark green to light green to shocking yellow with sheaves of green petals holding its head up. Coaxed by the warm sun, they unfurl fresh yellow petals and fat, tight, juicy seed pods that feed numerous insects, bees and birds who walk around probing meticulously for whatever they want. The incredible edible sunflower is completely empty by the end of the growing season when winter rolls in. So, a sunflower is bright, yellow, and strong, and more. It demonstrates very transparently- life as process- and plays its role to the fullest. No regrets. Reminds me of a Tom Rush song. Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfDq8eCLoGE