Last summer, I took some of the edgers that were stacked on the side of the house and blocked off a little garden area. I decided to plant sunflowers. I started the seeds in little plastic pots on the lanai, alternately overwatering and ignoring them. The survivors made it into the flower bed.
They grew pretty quickly, benefitting from the fact that Steve kept reminding me to water the tomato plants.
We got some nice blooms on them and even some bees visiting!
It soon became evident, however, that the extreme rockiness of the soil did not allow them to get a good root system going. Even though Steve tried staking and tying them to help them stand upright, they never got strong enough stems to support or nourish themselves. Not one of the flower heads set seeds.
I did enjoy watching them grow, even if they didn’t do as well as I had hoped.
This year, I’ve planted mint.
Several weeks ago, I bought sunflower seed packets from our local gardening center. “Giant” sunflowers, which the package said will grow up to 16 feet tall, “Mammoth” – 8-12′ tall, and then two varieties that should get to be about 4 feet tall, one red and the other a “Moonflower” – with petals a paler yellow than other sunflowers. I got some edging that’s been on the side of the house since we moved in, and made a flower bed especially for the sunflowers.
Then I took out my garden book and sketched out plant placement based on potential flower height and how the bed is angled toward the lanai.
I planted the seeds in little starter pots and waited for them to sprout. The “Giant” ones sprouted very quickly, the others took a few days longer.
The pictures above were taken on May 4th. I finally got the poor, neglected, perhaps even abused, seedlings into the ground this afternoon. I forgot to look at my notebook, with my carefully-planned planting sketch, because I just wanted to get them into the ground before they completely expired.
If you zoom in, you can see the twisted, stunted seedlings trying to stand up, now that they have space to stretch their roots and find some stability and balance. I also gave them plant food and a thorough watering, in an attempt to assuage some of my guilt from having ignored them for so long. I do feel a little better, and they look like they feel better as well. I hope so.