Volunteer Sunflowers

Gigantic bags of sunflower seeds inhabit our pantry.  I am continually trying to wrestle them into submission and shove them under the lowest shelf so that I might have room to move.  At first it’s a challenge, pushing around nearly half my weight in seeds.  But the birds that frequent Rich’s bird feeders are voracious, and it’s not long before the diminishing supply is easily relegated to its storage spot.  Until the next bag arrives.

This summer those seeds delivered a pleasant surprise.  Out of the thousands of seeds provided for the birds, a few of the sunflower seeds migrated away from the bird feeders and into our garden.  Here and there among our colorful perennials, we discovered individual sunflower plants beginning to grow.  Not the enormous picture book sunflowers, just a nice size stalk reaching about four feet tall.  Now this was a use for sunflower seeds that I could really appreciate, and eagerly looked forward to their bright yellow blossoms.  Unfortunately, I was not their only fan.  Just as the largest buds looked about ready to bloom, the deer nibbled off the tasty flowers.

Volunteer SunflowerWe still had a few remaining plants that were behind in their development, so we quickly deployed the deer spray.  They got a liberal dousing after each rain and whenever we thought of it.  Our diligence paid off, and a few days ago the first sunflower bloomed!  We are nursing a couple more along, hoping for a few more sunny blossoms to grace our landscape.

Not being a birder, I’m not always thrilled with those voluminous bags of sunflower seeds in my space.  Nor do I fully appreciate the birds they attract.  But I have to acknowledge the role the birds played in dropping said seeds onto fertile ground. Yes, they have purchased a few months of good will as I enjoy the volunteer sunflowers that resulted.