I'm not sure what happened, but I didn't plant any sunflowers in the garden last year. And I missed them. Although I've never gotten any to mature enough that I could actually harvest seeds from them, that doesn't really matter. The old-fashioned look they lend to a garden is enough for me.
This shot was taken in 2008 of me showing how tall the sunflowers were (I'm 5'3") the last time they appeared in my garden.
This year I made certain to remember to put in a 35' row of them on the far south end of the field garden.
They're still not very big so far this year, maybe 12" tall. And I didn't get very good germination either. But then we haven't exactly had sunflower-friendly weather either. I planted them a foot apart for the whole 35' and only sixteen germinated. Would you question my gardening know-how if I confessed the seeds I used were from . . . 1999? ("We-e-e-ll," she says in a whiny voice.) I do have extremely good luck saving and using old seeds . . . but I may have pushed the envelope just a little too far on this one.
I filled in the gaps a couple of weeks ago (with more of the same old seeds) and a couple more have made an emergence. The row won't be perfect but I look forward to seeing those big, bright, happy faces following the sun across the sky each day.
Reminder to self: Order sunflower seeds for 2011 garden.