Sunday, August 15, 2010


The neighbor across from my office in downtown Birney plants sunflowers each year. He just takes handfuls of birdseed and plants them along his fences. Right now his garden is alive with gold and a joy to see. I asked if I could photograph them. I had to be careful as their centers were filled with bumblebees sometimes three to a flower; they were certainly a bunch of happy bees. Of all the pictures I took, this one appealed to me the most - if you look carefully the center is a whirligig - just like op-art. A few years ago I wrote about a volunteer sunflower.
If Life Gives You Sunflowers……
During the winter we faithfully put out seed for the birds. Our kindness has another side however; come spring the flowerbeds are decorated with strange plants! Sunflowers seem the most prolific and crop up all over the place. One summer a huge plant appeared which we have never been able to identify. I watered it along with the other plants and it grew to around four and a half feet high by the end of the summer. I carefully removed the seed heads in case it might be a noxious weed. All my friends commented as to its spectacular appearance.

This spring when I was working on two planters, I found a wonderful reward. Two small rose bushes. I transplanted them into pots and gave one to friends in Wyoming, a part of our world given to theirs. The little garden helpers I believe responsible for these unsolicited gifts are probably the many chipmunks that moved in about five years ago. They store away seeds for the winter months then unknowingly give me surprises in the flowerbeds in the spring.

I could dig out these seedlings and throw them away, but instead I treasure them, give them a little nurture and enjoy the results. Most years I have at least one six-foot sunflower that feeds the birds in the fall. After all if life gives you sunflowers, celebrate sunshine.

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