I’ve never grown sunflowers so I had no idea what to expect back in April when I planted those out of date seeds and the speed with which they grew surprised me. I knew sunflowers were tall but I’ve never had the opportunity to watch something grow that quickly before. Fast forward from April to July and this was the month that I started to see the biggest changes in those hyperactive giants.
July was unseasonably windy so we put canes and stakes into most of the sunflower pots hoping to give them something to cling onto during those windy days. I’m not sure looking back that they actually needed it, some of the sunflowers grew just as strong without support as those with it. In fact one of the longest lasting flowers made it through the summer with no external support at all.
The one factor that really surprised me was how many sunflowers actually survived. Every single seed I planted and put in a pot on its own grew strong and flowered to some degree or another. I had a couple of plants that barely flowered but they did all develop flower heads of some description. I had some weird mutant looking heads that looked like two heads splitting. I had a couple that were well over 6ft tall, and some that were only a couple of feet tall. Every single one was cherished, watered, weeded, protected from the wind. They became the first thing I checked on every day, they were the stars of my instagram account. The variety in the colours, shape and height of them was endlessly fascinating to me and as a photographer I could not resist taking shot after shot.
So here is a gallery of the sunflowers we grew this year. Next year we will grow them again, they will be an annual fixture because we got so much pleasure from them. Their sunny little faces brightened up even the grey, drizzly, windy days and at one point they were blocking our view of the garden from the living room window but that was just fine. They cheered me up every time I saw them and if you only grow one thing it should be sunflowers. They reward every ounce of care you give them with their glorious coloured petals and intricate leaves.