This week we said goodbye to our sunflower garden. In June, we planted Sunspot Sunflowers in the sunny patch of ground on the other side of our little garage and along the alleyway and sidewalk. Inspired by the photographs of sunflower fields in France, (we watch the Tour de France every summer, and those shots of bicycles and sunflower fields were my inspiration) we planted masses of seeds. The next door neighbor cautioned us that we were planting them too close together and that the plants would compete for nutrients, but we massed them together anyway and our Sunflower Garden was glorious. Neighbors walking by stopped to take photographs or to ask questions about what kind of sunflowers we had planted. The garden brought us many compliments and many pleasant conversations with neighbors we hadn’t met before.
But this week it was time to prepare that garden for winter. The flowers were spent, with heads bent over in woe, “mourning the end of summer”, as my friend described them. Time to clear them out. I cut off the heads and put them in paper bags to dry for the winter and then started pulling sunflowers. I didn’t count how many were growing in our mini-field, but it took me three days to complete the job.
Next, we will till the ground and plant a winter cover crop like we did last winter, only this time we will plant Austrian Winter Peas to enrich the soil. When Spring comes, we will build and plant our Butterfly Garden there. My dream is to create a butterfly garden that can be an official certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
This summer of sunflowers was a wonderful gardening experience!