Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Reaping Last Year's Rewards

I am lucky enough to have a beautiful kitchen window that faces south.  I didn't realize how desired this was until a few friends commented on how they pined for it.  I had never given much thought as to why it would matter or how I would benefit from it, but I figured I should take advantage of it at the very least.

We were only leasing this home for three years so I didn't want to go too crazy with expensive ideas or anything that would be permanent that the landlords wouldn't care for.  I juggled between wind chimes that would catch the sun or hanging flower baskets.  Then it dawned on me:  Sunflowers!  Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers and I even had red ones in my wedding bouquet.  Brian (my husband) measured the distance from the ground to the kitchen window and said that I was in luck if I wanted to buy the giant sunflowers because they would bloom directly in from of my window!  He said it was the perfect spot for them since the window was facing south and the flowers would get the perfect amount of sun in order to grow to their full height.  Oh, the excitement! 

Once we went to buy the seeds, I became too distracted by all the other varieties of sunflowers they had to offer.  Big poof-y ones that looked like a bright colored sea urchin to dainty daisy-like breeds.  If memory serves me correctly, I think I bought eight different kinds and not one was the giant mammoth flower.  I swore to Brian that they would still grow tall enough for me to see them outside the window and he just bit his tongue like a good man, knowing in time I would learn my lesson.  He tilled up an eight foot bed and manufactured a darling little picket fence around it and planted our seeds. Well, I learned my lesson.  I did end up with a beautiful conglomeration of sunflowers but I couldn't see them from my kitchen window.  <----Insert sad face here.  I still reaped the rewards from that first yield by experiencing the joy of sharing the flowers with neighbors and filling my home with their cheerful spring colors.

Fast forward to this last summer.  So.  We start all over again.  We pick out our seeds and I bought only the mammoth variety.  We made it out of the store without me giving into my weakness of wanting to buy every other bright and unique version I can find.  Success!   We even had enough seeds leftover to plant a row in our garden which was an added bonus.  I pondered what I would do with these giant flower heads since there were going to be about fifteen of them.  Should I use them for flower bouquets?  Jeez, that would almost be a waste to wait all that time and only have enough to gather two large bouquets for the whole summer.  At that moment, I remembered that I had noticed a larger bird population around our home last winter and I kept a mental note to check and see if the birds were eating the sunflower seeds as a winter treat.  I did a bit of research online and many gardeners recommended to keep the stalks up because the birds will eat the seeds and chit chat with their other bird friends and invite them over for a smorgasbord.  Well, that is exactly what happened!  Not only did we get to enjoy the bright, sunny faces of the sunflowers all summer, but they provided us with endless hours of bliss watching the bountiful varieties of winter birds singing and snacking away at our eye level.  Right outside that charming window that faces south.

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