Two suburbanite boomers throw caution to the wind, postpone retirement, and move to a farm in Indiana. There they intend to live happily ever after.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Nature Notes: Burning Rings of Fire
It's been a while since I've gone exploring. Mother Nature is in the
throes of a massive hot flash, and I avoid Her when She gets like
that. But the garden has given me something to share this week, besides cucumbers and beans: Sunflowers!
This is the first year I have grown them, and getting to know sunflowers has been a revelation. There have been good surprises and bad surprises. Such as:
1. Sunflowers do not actually follow the sun. I planted them around a post in the center of the vegetable garden, to the north of the house. I expected to watch from the kitchen windows as their big, golden heads tracked the sky. Turns out, only the buds do that. The flowers always face east - all of them, all the time. So my view from the house is perpetually edge-on. Dang.
2. Sunflowers do not play well with others. Especially pole beans. All parts of the plant exude chemicals that inhibit the growth of many other plants, so their position in the center of the vegetable garden was probably ill advised.
4. Bumblebees adore Sunflowers. I have never seen so many in one place. As bumblebees are reported to be in decline, it is a joy to see them. They all but wallow in the pollen, purring like well-fed kittens.
5. Sunflowers can clean up contaminated soil and water. They remove lead, arsenic, uranium, and harmful bacteria. They were used to help remediate radioactivity at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
6. Best of all, as my husband observed, "They do make you smile, don't they."