Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Growing Sunflowers’

They say what a difference a day makes; it’s not only a day but a week too, last week it was cold we had wind, gales, rain and wintry showers, this week it is settled and dry with light winds, and sunshine, the weather is just like life full of ups and downs.

The final image.

A couple of months ago I received an email from Toni Abram who is the founder of the website ‘The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy’. The Centronuclear Myopathies are a family of rare inherited neuromuscular diseases, which can affect children and adults, and causes muscle deterioration and weakness affecting breathing, feeding and movement making simple everyday tasks such as walking up stairs, rising from a sitting position unaided, lifting and carrying and opening bottles difficult and often impossible.

After Toni and her father were diagnosed with the condition in 1998, she soon realised that it was relatively unknown and information was hard to find so Toni set up a website to help others in their search for information and to bring those with the condition together, whatever their age, whatever form of the condition they have and wherever they may be in the world; and to create awareness of this rare condition.

Bright, vibrant Sunflowers are featured on the website and were chosen for the cheery and positive outlook they convey they can grow to such dizzy heights, as if they are on a mission to touch the sky and nothing can hold them back, I cannot think of a more appropriate flower to use.

The Big Sunflower Project

The Sunflowers were the inspiration for their now annual Big Sunflower Project, which was started in 2011, and raises awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy. The aim of the project is to get as many people as possible growing sunflowers, participants can obtain their own seeds or request seeds from The Information Point by emailing their name and address with the subject line ‘The Big Sunflower Project’, you can request seeds for yourself or on behalf of a group in return just send them photographs of your sunflowers, either as they grow or when they are in full bloom, which will then be displayed on their website, newsletters and on social media.

Sunflowers are easy to germinate and grow and a favourite with all children so why not grow some this year, they are stunning to look at and will brighten up any corner of your garden, as well as taking part in The Big Sunflower Project by growing them you will also be providing a good source of nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and other insects and the seeds will be enjoyed by the birds in Autumn/Winter.

For more information have a look at their website –

The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy

The Big Sunflower Project

I grow Sunflowers each year and will be sowing my seeds at the end of April/early May, here is a picture of Thomas with some giant ones.

T and our Sunflowers

For more information on ‘How to grow Giant Sunflowers’ click here.

Have fun and enjoy the sunshine

Gill

Read Full Post »

Hopefully by now, if the weather has been kind where you live, your Sunflowers will have flowered and developed into rings of nice fat seeds.

As you can see mine have grown well but some of them are yet to flower, I hope that this spell of sunny weather will encourage them to flower and set their seeds.

The varieties I have grown this year are Titan and Russian Giant as they have large heads and hopefully plenty of seeds for the birds.

I love Sunflowers, I grow them for their stunning flowers, which benefit the bees and insects, and their seeds, which I save for the birds, if you want to save some of your seeds for the birds or to grow next year here’s what you need to do.

  1. When the backs of the Sunflower heads turn yellow cut them off leaving about 30cm of stem attached and hang them upside down somewhere warm, dry and well ventilated (to prevent them going mouldy).
  2. Tie a brown paper bag around the Sunflower heads to catch any seeds that drop out.
  3. Once the backs of the Sunflower heads have turned brown and dry your Sunflower seeds are ready to harvest, they should pop out when you run your hands over the heads.
  4. Lay the seeds out on newspaper to completely dry out and to remove any flower heads/leaves then store the seeds in a cool dry place in an airtight container.

A Sunflower head that has finished flowering

Make a Bug House with your Sunflower stems

After you have cut the heads off the plants, the remaining stems can go into the Compost Bin or instead if they are hollow why not use them to make an Bug House. Cut the stems into 10 – 15cm lengths and squeeze them into a washed large pop bottle which has had the top cut off (ask an adult to do this), apply tape around the rough cut edge for safety, place at an angle with the open end slightly pointing downwards in a sheltered, dry and shady spot in your garden, this will make an great Bug House for over wintering insects.

Read Full Post »