Oh my darlings, today is a celebratory day. Ms. Jeannie is pleased to announce that there has been a birth! A petite little beauty greeted the day. Here she is…
This was from the Botanical Interests Autumn Beauty seed packet, which all have red, orange or gold petals with brown centers. It’s supposed to reach heights of 5′ to 8′ feet tall but this little gem is only about 2.5′ feet tall. She must be an early bloomer:)
You can see her height best in this picture…
In the midst of all this excitement Ms. Jeannie did experience a little set-back this week. It appears some sort of war rampaged in the garden. Ms. Jeannie lost 3 of the troops…
Ms. Jeannie is not sure what happened. Her first guess was deer, thinking they bit it right off. Here’s another angle…
This is the second stalk that was tampered with…
And the third…
Whatever it was, deer, worm, bug…it didn’t eat the tops of the leaves. Ms. Jeannie found two in the dirt inside the beds and one in the grass next to the trough.
All the destruction occurred in the same section but not with stems right next to each other. It is a bit of a mystery as to what happened. Ms. Jeannie was a little ruffled at the scene. If a deer ate the sunflowers for nutrition, then fine, but just to bite it for no reason and then leave the tops to wither seems wasteful and unnecessary.
Ms. Jeannie is hoping that the stalks, which are still in hearty shape, might recover, and grow new leaves. So she will leave them be to see what happens.
In case it is a bug of destruction, they recommended spraying a solution of Dawn dish soap, water and rubbing alcohol on the sunflowers to create a sticky environment. So Ms. Jeannie sprayed all her garden with this and so far there has seemed to be no other damage.
If it is deer, that are eating the sunflowers, Ms. Jeannie is not quite sure what she will do yet. If you have any suggestions. Please let her know!
We have a bud, ladies and gentlemen! That’s right – one sunflower bud is on it’s way to flowering!
Funny enough, this is one of the little guys that sprouted long after the others. It’s only 14″inches tall while most of all the other sunflowers are now 3″ feet tall.
Do you remember Ms. Jeannie’s other garden patch project? The one that involved the hard to make, impractical but so so beautiful twig fencing? Well, Ms Jeannie discovered that yes indeed – it is definietly hard to make a twig fence. Hats off to all of you that have the paitence to muddle through such construction.
Ms. Jeannie fears that she is a tad short in that department!
After what seemed like a thousand trips into the woods to find perfectly straight, not too big, not too little sticks, Ms. Jeannie discovered that she had only gathered enough to build about 1/16th of her fencing. Goodness gracious!
So the fencing plan was modified just a smidge.
Ms. Jeannie wrapped her garden in 1″inch strips of hardwood and heavy duty steel wire instead. It is still impractical and won’t keep any sort of small critter out, but Ms. Jeannie loves it’s rustic look! The twigs were re-purposed as a little decorative barrier at the front and back of the garden.
Ms. Jeannie clipped some wild thistle and hung it at the entrance for a little early color. Mr. Jeannie Ology found a buzzard feather that same day, so added to the bouquet it was!
The vegetables and herbs don’t seem to mind that the fence is sort of quirky. They just keep growing anyway! Both tomato plants are already flowering!
Ms. Jeannie also had to make some amendments to the garden after a cutting worm or two came to enjoy some sprout salad. Ms. Jeannie has filled in the bare patches with cosmos flower seeds and peas around the garden edge.
Besides the bin of three feet tall sunflowers, Ms. Jeannie also has two other water troughs full of sunflowers. They were planted a couple of weeks later then the initial batch of sunflowers to help stagger the bloom time, so they are just getting their soil legs now, so to say. This morning they were just peeking over the rims of the troughs.
After learning so much about the starlings, Ms. Jeannie is on the watch for other birds in her garden. She’s delighted to find that a woodpecker now comes to visit every morning! He sure is a handsome thing…
Well my dears, in what surely must be some sort of record, the sunflowers have grown an amazing 11 inches since our last garden update 14 days ago.
That’s about 3/4 of an inch per day!
How exciting! Ms. Jeannie’s not trying to rush the days – but she can’t wait until they flower:)
Just to refresh- the target bloom date is Ms. Jeannie’s birthday – June 16th. A month and a half away. If they continue on this growing rate they will be about 55″ inches tall in mid-June, which would put that at about 4.5′ feet tall.
According to the seed packet, this Moulin Rouge variety of red sunflower reaches an average height of 6′ feet tall, so we don’t quite know yet if Ms. Jeannie will have that birthday bouquet or not. Oh the garden suspense!
In case you missed it, Ms. Jeannie just wanted to let you dear readers know that her blog postMexican Folk Art: How Circumstances Affect Creativity has been updated with new information from some of the artists that were featured.
Get to know what inspired the following pieces by visiting this link here. Share your thoughts in the poll at the bottom of this post.
Today Ms. Jeannie started planting her summer garden.
It’s been a very mild winter this year in the South, so she could have started much earlier, but every once in a while, a folklorish sounding thing called blackberry winter hits our region, which sort of fools you into thinking that spring has sprung. But then a wicked Mr. Frost comes calling, and knocks out all the early garden preparations. Usually this happens around Eastertime, if it occurs at all, but this year Ms. Jeannie is throwing caution to the wind and planting early. Hopefully it will all work out.
Ms. Jeannie likes to order seeds from her favorite company, Botantical Interests. They have a lot of heirloom varieties, organic mixtures and seeds that always sprout. Plus they have marvelous looking seed packets that contain all sorts of fun growing information. They contain drawings of what the seedlings should look like too, which is helpful if you have a weed prone garden or aren’t quite sure what is what!
This year Ms. Jeannie is keeping things simple by just planting sunflowers and herbs. She will leave her vegetable growing to the local farmers and just shop for them at market each week.
Ms. Jeannie always likes to be a little out of the ordinary, so she has ordered 4 different varieties of red sunflowers, two fuzzy yellow sunflowers and one white sunflower. Ms. Jeannie finds red sunflowers to be most elegant in a bouquet and since many people aren’t familiar with them, she enjoys a bit of the surprise element!
Urn style planters serve as great vases for sunflowers. Their tall yet curvaceous lines balance the bold roundness of the sunflower face. Urns are usually heavier too, which is good, because some mammoth varieties can reach heights up to 9′ feet tall!
The botanical name for sunflower is Helianthus, which comes from the Greek word “helios” which means “sun” and “anthos” which means “flower.” Although native to North America, sunflowers were first discovered by European explorers in South America, but Native American tribes had been growing, cultivating and defining them from the beginning. Native American tribes used the flower petals for dye, the seeds for food, the oil for ceremonial body painting and the stalks for fiber.
Explorers brought seeds back to their native countries, so that by the late 1500’s sunflowers were a common site throughout Europe.
By the 18th century though that Europeans began cooking with sunflower oil. If you have never cooked with sunflower oil, it is supposed to contain the highest levels of Vitamin E, of all the cooking oils. It is light in taste and color. and is low in saturated fat. Learn more here.
Sunflowers can even be used as birdfeeders! Thanks again crafty Martha for supplying us with this pretty feeder idea:
To make your own birdfeeder like this one click here.
Because of their warm, cheerful coloring and their dramatic size and shape, sunflowers have been a subject for artistic study for centuries. Probably, the most recognized paintings of sunflowers would be those of Vincent Van Gogh:
While Ms. Jeannie does love all these paintings, she does wish that Van Gogh had painted more red sunflowers! As a gift recently, she did receive the new Vincent Van Gogh biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith…
…perhaps she will learn more about the inspiration behind all those sunflower portraits! Maybe he’ll even address the red ones! If anyone has already read this book, please let Ms. Jeannie know what you thought of it. She always enjoys a good book review.
On Etsy, there is a glorious amount of sunflower-related items, but red sunflower items are a little more niche. Ms. Jeannie was happy to come across these items:
Ms. Jeannie couldn’t resist these yellow sunflower items either:
Ok, garden. Ms. Jeannie can’t wait to see your pretty faces. So start GROWING!
“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows follow behind you.”
~ Maori Proverb