In the spring of 2009, I planted a sunflower folly in half of the front yard: link. It was a dramatic success. For me, it had been an experiment as well as a therapeutic act after I had experienced a major disappointment. In September, the growing season done, I was content with the results of my folly, documented them, and set the idea aside.
A month ago, as she watched me start the spring clean up, Lydia asked, “Can you do the sunflowers again? I loved that.” So here I go again, although on a smaller scale.
This time, instead of planting half the front lawn, we tilled up the barren strips that lie between the road and the town sidewalk. Sunflowers can grow anywhere, and the poor quality of this soil will not deter them. The flowers’ appearance will also delight passers-by and provide us with a visual screen.
- Elf: yellow, 14″ to 16″ stems (Burpee)
- Sunspot: yellow, 2′ stems (Gurney’s)
- Chianti Hybrid: burgundy with gold, 4′ to 5′ stems (Burpee)
- Hybrid Double Shine: fuzzy orange, not many seeds, 5′ stemps (Gurney’s)
- Coconut Ice Hybrid: white, 5′ to 6′ stems (Burpee)
- Solar Flare: flame red, 5′ to 6′ stems (Burpee)
After tilling (thank you, Jimmy), Lydia raked and smoothed the dirt. I sprinkled on some foul-smelling fertilizer, and we used the eraser ends of pencils to make 1″ holes for planting the seeds.
Lydia came up with the planting scheme: tallest flowers in the sight line from our front windows, with shorter ones surrounding them. Her first proposal was that we “throw them down and let nature take its course,” but that was not enough of a scheme for me.
This was quick work. After planting, I watered the dirt lightly, put down some landscaper’s cloth with big staples (I used black cloth this time because I could grab it at Home Depot, but wish I had the white that I mail-ordered and used for my first folly). I made some improvisatory seed markers with the seed envelopes, some gardening sticks, and binder clips. See above.
I drank espresso. Winston kept us company.
Official planting date: Monday, May 20. Stay tuned for progress reports.
Previous posts on the Sunflower Folly of 2009, in chronological order: