February 19, 2010

Cartons of Sunflowers

It's never too early for the sun to SHINE . I love sun and light and SUNFLOWERS! It's a long wait until August when sunflowers typically bloom in our gardens here in New England.

One year in our small backyard at our old house  I started sunflowers INSIDE in February. Our family room faced south ,with floor to celing windows, and it soon looked like a jungle in there. It was just before the days were warm enough to transplant them outside.

It was so worth the extra time it took to stake the plants and nurture them as they grew. They bloomed earlier than normal and  kept blooming until frost, and that is late October here.

The birds were thankful too, especially the Goldfinches, as they had an earlier bounty. The birdwatchers also reveled in the glory. The smaller wildlife, chipmunks, squirrels, field mice, also came and enjoyed their share of the fallen seeds

Sunflowers and Yellow, stir my soul and just to have those glorious blooms to look at for MONTHS at a time was certainly a TREASURE.

So... this is the time of the year I save many milk and juice cartons. They are tall and provide a good root system for the sunflowers.

I cut off the tops, punch drainage holes in the bottom with an awl, nail or screwdriver and use them to start the sunflower seeds .

I also save the tops to put in the ART bin for assemblage art projects with the young children. They have been used as roofs or turned upside down and have become boats.

My absolute favorite sunflower to start inside is KONG Sunflower.

Sunflowers are easy to grow. They are very forgiving and are drought resistant. They make a terrific project for a child , or the child within  :)

The Kong plant can reach up to 12 to 14 feet tall. It has a very thick,sturdy stalk with branching stems and huge leaves and multiple 10 inch flowers . And if you deadhead the flowers more and more will bloom and reward you with their BEAUTY.

A delightful book for children and parents alike, packed full of goodness, information, and fun ideas is SUNFLOWER HOUSES by Sharon Lovejoy. A must have book!


Jennifer said...

i was actually thinking of doing a sunflower house (sunflowers, morning glories alternated with moon flowers)

marcia said...

I think the The Kong is actually one of the best for sunflower houses. I like them because they branch out and continue to bloom until frost. And any climbing vines will climb wherever they can find room :).

Deb said...

I tried planting the Sunflower Giant in front of our chicken run fence a couple of years back but they didn't do so well there. We started them from seeds. Perhaps I'll try this variety! I also love love love the Mexican sunflower.. The orange color just WOWs me!

marcia said...

Ahhh ..I have enjoyed the Mexican Sunflower(Tithonia Rotundifolia) for years...for sheer pleasure..the COLOR and the fact that it attracts bees, butterflies and birds, especially hummingbirds ! They aren't so great for sunflower houses though.