Remember when cultivated sunflowers were upwards of 10′ tall with only one head? Those days are long gone! Over the past two decades, hybridizers have altered this proud native icon in ways that make it barely recognizable! From pollen-less plants, to shades of white or red (red!?!) today’s sunflower is anything but an average garden variety ➡ Even if you do adequate research before buying seeds, you can still end up with unexpected results. Take a look:
The Burpee Seed Packet I purchased said “American Giants Hybrid” with a description of “14′ tall, perfect for a back border or hedge.” Honestly, I don’t care that they topped out at 5′, but NOWHERE did the info (or packet photo) mention/show this horrific multi-branching multi-head thing that will go on all summer…maybe even longer, as I suspect they’ll reseed ad infinitum in the way of my Super Cosmos!! 😮 As I said, I did quite a bit of web research and was confident I’d bought a single stalk, single head cultivar! So are these not American Giants or did I make a giant American mistake? Needless to say, I emailed the Burpee Company this very question! If they respond, I’ll be sure to let you know! 😎
Editted on Sept 19, 2012: While cleaning out an old email folder, I ran across the reply:
HI Karen, American Giant is single head. Kong is branching. Tom” So what to make of this mystery? Perhaps Kong got mistakenly placed in the Packet? End edit of Sept.19
Now for some happier updates!
Remember my second generation Greek post? Take a look at the Naxos opuntia now!
And right as I was lamenting the end of Amaryllis season, I noticed two bulbs (from the group I “forced” over Christmas) with brand new bud spikes! One was too deep in the Ranchero to photograph adequately, but this one wasn’t:
Another species in spike right now is the air plants, but their locations in the crooks of trees make them notoriously difficult to photograph. The largest one, located in our Orange Tree has a spike that’s risen 8′!! Of the 6 in our yard, all are Tillandsia Utriculatas; 4 are spiking, but this is the only one I could get to:
See those little red ridges on the inflorescence (aka spike)? As the central structure elongates, little side spikes emerge and grow in arc-like fashion, dramatically reaching toward the sunlight….Very fascinating!
And now to the last picture, because it’s been a long time since I’ve shown you the pepper plants:
After resting for a month, with no signs of production, the Ranchero pepper plants are once again covered in little white blooms! This one was particularly worthy of a close-up!
Until next time…..
Enjoy Spring! 🙂
- Gene behind van Gogh’s sunflowers pinpointed (3quarksdaily.com)
- Design: Flower Gardening Tips : How To Grow Common Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) (sistercute.wordpress.com)