"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Friday, August 19, 2011

Update on Sunflowers

All of my new cultivars (except 'Mammoth') have been blooming with astonishing brilliance and beauty for many weeks now and I want to update the photographs.

'Aurora Gold'

'Autumn Beauty'

'Italian White'

'Japanese Silverleaf'

'Red Courtesan'

Sure hope I can gather seeds that I can plant and raise them again next year.  The 'Red Courtesan' is over 7 feet tall.  All have multiple blooms.  Beautiful!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Not sure if it's because of the weather or my extraordinary gardening abilities, but I have the loveliest crop of sunflowers this year!

For Mother's Day, Steve and Stacy sent me 7 different cultivars of unique sunflowers which I planted around the garden in various places.  Additionally, the birds did a really good job of "planting" the black oil sunflower seeds that were in the bird feeder.  As a result, I have a lovely display of bright yellow blooms with three of the unique cultivars yet to bloom.

First, these are the ones planted by the birds and coming up in such abundance that I can scarcely walk down the path any more!
A bit later in the season, the sunflowers look beautiful next to the yarrow and the purple coneflowers.  I'm really quite proud of my rain barrel and I've gotten a lot of use from it this summer.  The sunflower heads are really pretty large and I'm hoping to get some seeds for replanting.

'Autumn Beauty'

The new cultivars have multiple heads instead of single blooms so I'm really looking forward to seeing them in full glory this fall.

'Autumn Beauty' now stands about 5 feet high with multiple heads, but only one has bloomed so far.

'Italian White'

'Italian White' has already bloomed multiple times with the very palest of yellow flowers on multiple stems.  The plant, though, is rather short at about 3 1/2 feet.


'Shine' is peaking over the chain-link fence that divides us from the neighbors and currently has only one small bloom.  I'm expecting more, however.

The other three cultivars (Japanese Silverleaf, Red Courtesan, and Mammoth) are already sturdy plants with multiple blooms and all are growing extremely tall.  I have every intention of gathering many seeds this fall in the hope of further expanding these lovely plants next year.

Hate Titles

The worst thing about writing a daily blog is the need to come up with a title every day.  Sometimes you just want to have some random thoughts or capture whatever you're thinking about at the moment, and there's this huge pause as you sit and try to come up with a title.  Whatever!

It is the first of August and hard to believe that the summer is going so fast.  I'd have to say that it has been a pretty bad summer so far.  June was quite cool and unpleasant, and a great deal of July was dreadfully humid.  Can't really count the number of simple beautiful summer days that we've had.  On the plus side, I guess, is the fact that my gardens are growing pretty well.  I have a ton of tomatoes on the vine and a lot of zucchini starting, but nothing "pickable" yet.  I need to get things in the ground sooner next year.  Also need to either come up with a magical remedy to spray on things that the rabbits hate, or change what's in the ground.  Very discouraging to plant lovely little flowers and have the rabbits eat them down to the ground.

I've been struggling with intense dizziness for the past 4 or 5 days, which I was attributing to the weather.  However, it occurs to me that I stopped taking one of my medications cold turkey a while back and I'm wondering if I'm not suffering side effects of the loss of that medication daily.  With any luck, I'll work through the problem in the next week or so.

Our August weekends will be nice and busy with the kids coming to the lake for several of the weekends, and a wedding one weekend, and Jack & Anna coming to stay for a week, and maybe Dean & Carol coming up from Florida.  I expect my work load will start picking up at Kohl's as we get closer to school opening (and all of those back-to-school sales that will take place).  I almost have all of my volunteer hours for Master Gardeners so I should be good to go for that; thinking about whether I want to put in continuing education hours to keep my insurance license alive.  I probably will as it's much easier to do CE than to go back and get the license again.

Final thought for today:  I think I might go back to England next year for another 3 or 4 weeks.  Considering going on another Jane Austen tour, and maybe go to Paris for a couple of days.  Looking at the maps, I could also go to Wales, Scotland, Belgium, and/or Ireland.  Seems to me this is just about the time of year when I decided that I'd take the last trip -- and spent the whole next year planning it.  There would be far less research needed this time since I already know many of the things that I didn't before.  I'd definitely like to rent a car this time and drive north into Scotland.  Well, we'll see.