The happy sunflower

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I’ve been growing sunflowers for the past six years and they never cease to amaze me.

I’ve grown sunflowers that are as tall as Triffids (without the gruesome taste for human flesh) alongside small, delicate-stemmed ones. I’ve grown sunflowers with bright yellow petals and sunflowers with multicoloured tangerine leaves. I’ve grown sunflowers that last a week and some that last a month. I’ve grown sunflowers with edible seeds and some suitable only for bird food.

But one thing about sunflowers remains consistent; one simply cannot walk past them without feeling all the better for it.

I hereby declare that the beautiful, joyous sunflower be renamed the Happy Flower and a festival be dedicated in its honour to acknowledge its nutritional and psychological service to humanity.

Sue’s tips for growing sunflowers Happy Flowers

  • Keep them away from chickens (they love the seeds and will dig them up at the earliest opportunity).
  • Keep them out of heavy winds or their stems will break. Tall sunflowers need to be tied to a stake for extra support.
  • Water them regularly (particularly the potted ones as they are a very thirsty Happy-Flower)
  • Leave on the stem. Don’t cut the bigger flowers but the smaller ones make nice decorations
  • Re-use the seeds – let the sunflowers replenish the soil and drop their seeds for the following year.
  • Sunflowers are summer and autumn flowers but you can start growing them in spring. If you want to start them earlier, then try growing the seedlings in a greenhouse and transport them to the garden after the last frost.

Sunflowers have apparently been used to heal the soil in the nuclear wasteland of Chernobyl.

They are truly amazing, beneficial and impressive Happy Flowers.

Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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