Mexican Sunflowers: The IHOP of the Flower World

Ms. Jeannie has never been to an International House of Pancakes that wasn’t packed. Usually with a waiting line out the door.

Now, she must confess that she has probably been to IHOP only about  a dozen times in her life, but that doesn’t matter because there have been a million people before and after her that could more than make up for her irregularity. She’s sure of this. She’s seen them all eat pancakes.

The IHOP experience that Ms. Jeannie knows is a hustle and bustle of serving trays and laughing kids, bottomless coffee carafes and  mile long little league tables. Glass upon glass of orange juice and seat upon seat of grandparent.  The smell of bacon and butter, the scraping of silverware, the staking of plates.

Service is fast. You sit down, your coffee comes right along, you decide, you order and  moments later you eat. The thing that amazes Ms. Jeannie most about IHOP though is their sheer volume of traffic and turnover.  Each time she is there, it seems like everybody woke up with the same idea. “Let’s go to BREAKFAST!” Right now.

This same zest for morning decadence seemed to be occurring in Ms. Jeannie’s garden this very day.

The bees, the birds, the butterflies were all abuzz! So much so that they were literally flying into Ms. Jeannie as she stood watering her Mexican Sunflowers. They couldn’t wait to get by her, diving down, flying up, brushing against –  it was a veritable feeding frenzy!  The petals were open!  Breakfast was on!

Here is just a sampling of  the crowd…

Swallowtail Butterfly
Ground Bee
Carpenter Bees
Ms. Jeannie thinks this might be a Dull Firetip Moth – but she’s not 100% sure. Does anybody else know?
American Painted Lady Butterfly

Hummingbirds have been spotted too – but Ms. Jeannie  has yet to have her camera ready when they come calling. They are such fast little things.

It is interesting to watch the bees interact with the butterflies.  They sort of kick the  butterflies out of the way so that they can dive deeper into the nectar. Ms. Jeannie doesn’t think the serving staff at IHOP would approve of that behavior.

There were high hopes for her Mexican sunflowers this year. It was Ms. Jeannie’s  mission to hide the meter box along the south side of the house with a mexican sunflower screen. Her seeds started out great. 20 plants came to life!

When they were about a foot tall. a critter of some sort came and rooted up 14 plants.  Ms. Jeannie suspects it might have been the workings of a mischievous armadillo that she she’s every once in while wandering about.

The six plants that remained grew and grew and grew (almost 6 feet tall). Practically filling out the whole area the original 20 would have occupied. So industrious!

Then two back to back wind storms last week took 4 more plants out.  Leaving just two behind. There is just no controlling that Mother Nature.

The two remainders  are flowering beautifully though, so Ms. Jeannie doesn’t dare complain. They are growing lots of new shoots too. So perhaps they will bush out some more and cover the bare spots.

Anyway – this is a photo of them as they stand now. It is amazing to think that all this came from just two seeds.

Considered weeds in Mexico and South American countries, Mexican sunflowers are really easy to grow. Requiring little water and lots of sun, it is best to plant them in the hottest driest place in your garden. Ms. Jeannie only waters hers every few days, as too much water, yields lots of green leaves but not a lot of flowers.

Ms. Jeannie just adores them. They grow fast and big. Their leaves and stems feel soft like velvet, their flowers are a bright citrus orange and they feed the flying squad. What’s not to love?! It’s right up there with bottomless coffee and endless stacks of pancakes.


One thought on “Mexican Sunflowers: The IHOP of the Flower World

  1. Dearest Mlle. Jeannie Ology,
    I am utterly enchanted by the subject of your blog and your writing style. I am also very impressed with the concept of your vintage shop! Will definitely be checking back in for more from this fun and informative blog!

    With best regards,
    The Gossamer Tearoom


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