The Story of the Magical Sunflower Garden
The Magical Garden
The Magical Garden
I believe most of us would agree that there is nothing more beautiful than a magical Sunflower garden in the spring. Sunflower's are awe-inspiring with their bright yellow colors and tall thick stems. I love how they majestically reach up to the sky and tower over the other flowers. They have this uncanny ability to make me smile whenever I see them. Here is my story of discovering a magical sunflower garden in my neighborhood.
Discovery of the Magical Sunflower Garden
I discovered the magical garden one day last summer. I was out for a daily walk with my two dogs. Occasionally I bring my camera because you never know when a photo opportunity will come along. As I merrily made my way through the neighborhood, I noticed a colorful garden off in the distance. It seemed to beckon me as I moved closer to take a look. It was a nice sized garden consisting of wild flowers of different varieties. Dancing above all the others, were bright yellow sunflowers, sprinkled every few feet. I marveled at their poise as their petals reached up to the sky. My camera fell in love with this magical nature scene.
How the Sunflower Garden came to Life
A few days after my wonderful discovery, I bumped into my neighbor who excitedly told me how the sunflower garden, came to be. She explained that she has a bird feeder that hangs off the swing set, in her front yard. It's about fifty feet or so from her garden. One morning she walked outside to enjoy the fresh air and was shocked to see what appeared before her. There, sprinkled among the wild flowers were sunflowers sprouting up. She didn't even have to do the work of planting them. Thanks to the wind and birds carrying the bird seed, my neighbor can enjoy the beauty and wonder of her newly created garden.
10 Facts about the Beautiful Sunflower
Sunflowers, in all their colorful glory, are a happy sight to behold—but there's more to their nature than just beauty. The multipurpose plants deliver healthy snacks, useful oil, and birdseeds. Let your garden knowledge flourish with these facts about Helianthus Annuus.
1. They're Native to the America's
Like potatoes, tomatoes, and corn, the cheerful plants didn't originate in Europe. They were cultivated in North America as far back as 3000 BCE, when they were developed for food, medicine, dye, and oil. Then, they were exported to the rest of the world by Spanish conquistadors around 1500.
2. THEY WERE BROUGHT TO RUSSIA BY ROYALTY.
Tsar Peter the Great was so fascinated by the sunny flowers he saw in the Netherlands that he took some back to Russia. They became popular when people discovered that sunflower seed oil was not banned during Lent, unlike the other oils the Russian Orthodox Church banned its patrons from consuming. By the 19th century, the country was planting two million acres of sunflowers every year.
3. THEIR POPULARITY STANDS THE TEST OF TIME.
Russian immigrants to the United States in the 19th century brought back highly developed sunflower seeds that grew bigger blooms, and sparked a renewed interest in the native American plant. Later, American sunflower production exploded when Missouri farmers began producing sunflower oil in 1946, when Canada unveiled a mechanical seed-crushing plant, and in the 1970s, when consumers looked for low-cholesterol alternatives to animal fats.
4. THEY NEED A LOT OF RAYS AND ROOM.
The flowers not only look like the sun, they need a lot of it. They grow best with about six to eight hours a day but more is even better. They can grow as tall as 16 feet, although many varieties have been developed to thrive at different heights. Flowers planted too close together will compete and not blossom to their full potential.
5. THEY TRACK THE SUN.
Sunflowers display a behavior called heliotropism. The flower buds and young blossoms will face east in the morning and follow the sun as the earth moves during the day. However, as the flowers get heavier during seed production, the stems will stiffen and the mature flower heads will generally remain facing east.
6. THE WORLD'S TALLEST SUNFLOWER REACHES 30 FEET AND 1 INCH.
In the summer of 2014, Veteran green-thumb Hans-Peter Schiffer toppled the Guinness World Record for third year in a row. The local fire brigade lent its help in measuring the sunflower, which required its own scaffold.
7. THEY HAVE A HISTORY OF HEALING.
In Mexico, the flowers were thought to sooth chest pain. A number of Native American tribes agreed with the plant's curing properties. The Cherokee utilized an infusion of sunflower leaves to treat kidneys while the Dakota brought it out to sooth "chest pain and pulmanery troubles."
8. THEY HAVE TRAVELED TO SPACE.
In 2012, U.S. astronaut Don Pettit brought along a few companions to the International Space Station: sunflower seeds. Petit regularly blogged about his budding friendship and shared photos of the gardening process.
9. THEY ARE ACTUALLY THOUSANDS OF TINY FLOWERS.
Each sunflower's head is made of smaller flowers. The petals we see around the outside are called ray florets, and they cannot reproduce. But the disc florets in the middle, where the seeds develop, have both male and female sex organs, and each produce a seed. They can self-pollinate or take pollen blown by the wind or transported by insects.
10. THEY CAN BE USED AS SCRUBBING PADS.
Once the flower heads are empty of seeds, they can be converting into disposable scrubbing pads for jobs too tough for your cleaning tool. Source: Mental Floss
© 2011 Linda Rogers
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