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Sunflower alley, blogging absences and the Hapsburg Empire

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 07 Sep 2010 at 11:48 AM


So, have you missed me?

Thought not.

However, after an almost total blogging break over the summer holidays, I have returned just in time to record the end of one of our summer garden highlights - Sunflower Alley.

Back in May I decided to plant a tunnel of sunflowers from the seeds saved last year. To form stepping stones, we used some old concrete paving slabs which had been deemed a safety hazard in the pre-school garden but which I like to embrace as ’risk awareness training’ . By the side of this we simply popped in a hundred or so seeds which had come from one of our five sunflowers the year before.

As it’s grown, the space has been used for chase games, hide and seek or even just sitting quietly (we added a garden stool to each end). Finally, when it came into flower, it provided a backdrop to the vegetable garden as well as furnishing the house with some spectacular flowers for several weeks.

What’s more, we even managed to grow one exceptionally tall specimen, 3.38metres high. Tragically, this monumental achievement occurred in the only year when the school did NOT have a sunflower competition. Of course when I re-edit history we will have trounced all comers to claim a record-breaking triumph…

Also, I will admit the tallest sunflower did look a bit… well… weird. It was a slightly distorted flower head that spoke of a level of genetic inbreeding matched only by the Hapsburg Empire in the 17th Century - which, I'll admit, was pretty bad. I mean, when you realise your aunt is also your grandmother it's a pretty sure sign you need to get out and meet new people.

But back to sunflowers. If you want to try something similar, I would recommend at least a metre between either side of the alley. At half of that, ours became less of a meander through flowers and more a slashing through the undergrowth kind of experience.

Also, I have discovered that late summer gales and very heavy flowerheads are not a good combination. As a result our sunflower alley took one final low bow last week from which it was never able to recover.

Still - this has now made cleared the space for pumpkins... which is nice.


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