’Round Town

Sunflower

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 7:00am

Considering the messes of late, i.e., fires, storms, floods, COVID, etc., I thought it might be nice to share something a little less troubling.

We, as a family, are not over the top incredible gardeners. We manage and do our best with some nice successes. During the long siege of last year, when everyone in our family came home, we took on projects that otherwise would remain on a rather lengthy “to-do” list. Building some raised garden beds bubbled to the top. With everyone home, we had many hands which made lighter work.

I am a fan of hemlock wood. It is perhaps not the most desirable of building materials. It has some drawbacks. But hemlock, generally, is less expensive. It gets a little tough to work when it is dry. I have bent many nails! If you can get it a little green, it’s much easier to work. I ordered a pretty good batch of hemlock from Viking Lumber for a project that had been planned for some time, so we had material for the raised bed garden project. However, before we could launch our construction exercise, much needed to be done to the area where the beds would be. Dig up the sod, remove years of roots, rocks and discarded trash buried long ago. Since I was the project engineer, there was plenty of opportunity to supervise. The gang all pitched in and we assembled the frames for the raised beds with remarkable coordination. The soils were prepped, seedlings gathered and some seeds started. This is where the next phase of our project took an interesting turn.

Russian mammoth sunflowers! I was commissioned to gather some seeds for our gardens. On a whim, I purchased a small bag of sunflower seeds from Damariscotta Hardware. The family liked the idea of sunflowers. We had grown them before from seeds but they were not the great 10' tall items noted in today's photo. I had no idea how mammoth the mammoths would be. These critters are probably 10 feet tall with tons of seeds. The birds and bees and squirrels (grrrr) love them. There are a couple dozen of these giants scattered about our gardens now and they are quite impressive. Even the last batch of wind and rain did not knock them down. Well, we did lose a couple. But even broken lying on the ground, they continue to grow. They are just too broken to hold up with stakes. Our daughter Morgan is in charge of maintenance and distribution.

So there’s my happy for this week. We are going to save some seeds and regrow more next year. I am reminded of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers. He felt that sunflowers symbolized gratitude. I'm good with that.