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!
An update on the progress of our Sunflower Garden…
Today, Hubby cleared the last of our “Crimson Clover Garden” and prepared the ground for planting the Dwarf Sunspot Sunflower seeds we bought from Silver Falls Seed Company. It will [hopefully] be our ‘mini field’ of sunflowers before too long. We’re planting it in that sunny patch of ground between our driveway/garage and the alleyway that runs behind our house. It used to be a wilderness of weeds. Now it has become our “whimsy garden.”
Inspired by the gorgeous Crimson Clover fields that surround much of our town, we bought a bag of Crimson Clover seed to plant in the empty garden area next to the garage. It is the future site of my Butterfly Garden, but since we’re not quite ready to build that garden, we decided to try planting the clover as a “cover crop” to enrich the soil.
We cleared our “mini-field” and prepared it for planting in November. It was very late in the season, but we remembered the advice of our salty old gardening neighbor, Mr. Cahoon, (“half of what you plant will die, but half will live!) and decided to give it a try. We broadcast the seeds just before a series of rainstorms moved into our area, and we saw immediate results! The seeds sprouted almost at once and just continued to amaze us with their growth over the winter months.
And then spring came and we knew we were going to have a beautiful mini-field of clover for our bees and the neighborhood to enjoy!
There’s a sunny patch of ground at the side of the driveway and old garage that we would like to turn into a butterfly garden. It’s been a weed patch for years, but the husband cleared out the weeds and grass this week, a first big step in creating that special garden. However, we’re not ready to start the butterfly garden yet, so we decided to put in a “cover crop” to help enrich that soil and get rid of the weedy wilderness look. We have a bag of Crimson Clover seeds and decided to toss them out there and see what happens. If they don’t grow, no problem. If they do…well, the patch will look a lot better over the winter and into the spring!