Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Optimism vs. Reality

The battle begins every spring with the pillbugs and then with the snails who glean in my small seedling trays that I move into the warm sun.  I speak of those who leave no trace of their arrival except the absence of green where once there was a stem and two leaves opening like clapping hands that gave joy to my heart.

About 40% of little infant plants remain and give a small reward by avoiding the decimation and putting forth secondary leaves and actually looking like living plants with a future.   These I remove as if they were delicate jewels and carefully plant in my flowers beds.  I plant EVERYWHERE, to give as much chance of survival.  I plant in the wet beds, the dry beds, the beds near the house, the beds far from the house.  I spray them with a noxious mixture that would make a grown man faint if he placed his nose near the stem.

But the larger vermin, rabbits or moles or whatever little crunchers, decide to visit and have a late evening snack or early morning breakfast.  Finally, as in real war, which certainly this is, without the treaties or declarations or drones, the groundhogs join the buffet table, and with their usual hog manners, make a mess of everything!!

What on earth am I talking about?  My SUNFLOWERS!  I keep trying to grow sunflowers as if I lived in California or Mexico and not the hurricane and soggy mid-Atlantic.  I grow them because I refuse to accept defeat.  I love their optimistic sunny, open faces.  They are like babies giggling.  They are like sunshine on a cloudy day.  They are like...well you get the idea.

This year I have a bunch of them!  Well, let me go count, because I tend to exaggerate.  I will be right back.  Sigh.  I have 26 plants!!  Well, 27 if you count the volunteer.  As a Master Gardener I can safely say if you plant an annual enough times, it will eventually reseed somewhere!

Some are as large at the crepe myrtle...but no blooms yet.  Did I mention I live in the woods and do not get much sun?

I planted some behind the daylilies...which do not get enough sun!

Some are tucked in beside that famous arbor I posted about a few years ago.  The bird nest in the house is full of  odd and rough twigs.  The Carolina wren is being very weird in nesting behavior with this second batch.  These fledglings will experience tough love.

I planted some close to the house and these are blooming.  Yes, I was hedging my bets and even planted a few in a pot as you can see on the lower right.

Some were planted a little late and are still small.

Most are staked, because we get some real drenching storms.

Here is the volunteer in my herb bed!

And the pollinators have arrived along with the eager goldfinch.

And I have arrived with my eager camera.


Joanne Noragon said...

The deer munched right down the garden row. Neat as using scissors. They have not "done" the row under a window on the south side of the house. We don't know why; the house doesn't stop them from eating roses.

Brian Miller said...

oh nice...i love sunflowers....i wish we could grow them...the deer eat everything here...they ate the roses this week....

Linda Reeder said...

I love them too but gave up on them because the squirrels hit the blooms just as they were opening and stripped everything. But I just set out yesterday a few plants we started from some free seed. Then we had a thunderstorm and one torrential rain burst after another. I haven't surveyed the damage yet.

Red said...

If i leave sunflowers in the garden over the winter I get volunteer sunflowers...too many of them, The rabbits do eat my peas and lettuce.

Peruby said...

"They are like babies giggling" - well that would be very hard to resist. Love that.

Good luck. I hope what you have left remains healthy and you have them everywhere!

messymimi said...

Stay optimistic, like the sunflowers themselves.

Bob Bushell said...

Lovely plants you have over there.

Kat said...

Yeah!!! Way to go! See. Being optimistic really does pay off sometimes. And that photo with the sunflower and the bee. WOW!

When we first moved into this neighborhood NO ONE had any flowers in their yard. Not. One. Neighbor. No flowers. Why? Deer. Bunnies. Squirrels. The flowers would be decimated immediately. I didn't care. I planted away. I found a liquid spray and used bottle after bottle. I had beautiful flowers. little by little the neighbors added flowers to their yards too (have to keep up with the Jones' you know) and now we are a flowery neighborhood. Unfortunately, come September the deer and bunnies will eat the flowers regardless of spray, but still! Flowers in summer!

Kay said...

What wonderful photos. You have such a beautiful garden. My new tiny tangerine tree was getting all its leaves eaten up before I found a cocoon on one of the branches. Sheesh!

Mage said...

Oh, glorious.


I am freakishly crazy about sunflowers. I have grown every kind over my many gardening years. My header this month is of sunflowers because they exude such joy and make most folks smile. This is my first year without a full fledged garden -- having grown a garden since I was 14 -- got my garden bug from my dad.. Glad you are determined about your sunflowers. They sure are special flowers. -- barbara