Sunflowers And Saturday Afternoons

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It started out like so many of my trips to the local nursery. My shoes were not exactly clean then again neither were my jeans. They were covered in a mixture of potting soil, honest to goodness all natural flower bed dirt and cow manure.

Call me old school but I still swear by the stuff and think the only thing better invented kind of by nature for flower beds was the composted mushroom soil I was able to get back east. It was the soil used inside of giant caves to grow mushrooms in man made containers and it worked miracles.

Anyhow so after puttering around outside, playing on the lawn and obsessing how to best mow a diamond pattern into it. An obsession I still don't quite have nailed but my friend Dee's husband John turns his little yard in Westchester into patterns and textures that the Yankees would covet.

So then on to more productive work, Moving all the garden statues out of the beds. Putting down fresh mulch, cutting away the now brown tulips and daffodils from the early spring bloom and then back to washing and scrubbing the assorted landscaping stones (why do stones need washed anyway? No one washes with anything but rain when they're out in the woods.) and wiping down the garden statues to ensure they're clean as well before putting them back into place.

Right about the time I got done putting the heaviest of the garden statues back my little 9 year old gardening buddy came out to join me. She's the one that no matter how filthy I am will go out and buy flowers with me as long as we can plant them when we get home.

On this particular spring day it was time to start the veggies. Truthfully I'd been growing lettuce in a basement window for a month or two had enough basil going to keep an Italian restaurant well stocked for the coming year and the tomato seeds were nice hearty little plants.

Into the car we go filthy shoes and all. Give one last fleeting look to the new mulch the clean garden statues and the not so ball park perfect front lawn as we pull away to begin our adventure at the Nursery. It began with us walking though the front door and a rack of seeds. Of course she stopped they picture of flowers and veggies on them as seed packets tend to do and I can't help but imagine she was filling out gardens with all those wonderful flowers from the cover.

�Can we get some?� she asked

�Of course pick what ever you want but we need to figure out where they'll go� I encourage her.

She finds a pack of sunflower seeds for 10 cents. I ask where they should go knowing darn well that I didn't pave space for sunflowers but still keeping an open mind.

�In the herb garden on the top� her reply making it seem like it was so obvious and I should have known. As I questioned why would I put a flower in my herb garden. �Because you eat seeds they're food� said nicely but I knew she knew she had me. Just for good measure she offered �besides they're tall and bushy and will help make shade so everything doesn't dry out. S we go home plant the seeds in the top level of our square little 4'x4' herb garden. I built up two levels above ground level to kind of hold the soil ans separate the plants into neat little segments with out placing them in pots. Although the point needs to be made that the lemon thyme has a mind of it's own and has not respected the boundaries.

In the pack there was 6 seeds we planted three of them in the little 8 inch square at the top. All three sprouted and we let two grow to maturity after a lengthy debate about over crowding.

So summer rolls around, the lawn is still a lush green and it's keep needs to go to remedial decorative grass cutting school. The Garden statues had been sprayed off a few more times and the rocks were left to let nature clean them.

Her use the sunflowers to make shade for the other plants theory worked out quite well and it was time to cut the Sun Flowers off their tall green leafy plants and harvest the seeds. It's a sunny warm September Saturday afternoon. We get a big pair of wire snips to lop off the flowers and bring them to the back porch.

Making a mess as if often the case of a work in process that I'm involved in My daughter and I have seeds every where. We start talking about the uses for them. Deciding that after they sit and dry out for a few days we'd bag them up. Her fourth grade teacher and the other students maintain a garden in the center of the school and feed the birds in the winter. She's a very generous little girl and decides to give most of the seeds to her teacher to feed the birds. It was a great idea. Then she decides to mail a snack sized baggies to both of her grandmothers to plant in their gardens. Some of the overage could be used to feed the birds in my estimation.

It's amazing how many seeds two sunflowers can produce after sending another quart baggie of seed in for a school hurricane relief project we still have a good three pounds of seeds left. I'd keep an eye out for fat birds around my house this winter.

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Brook is an avid writer and outdoor enthusiast dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits of landscaping. Looking for more landscaping ideas? Come visit for the largest selection of garden statues.

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