We all know art comes in many forms and from many inspirations. Last year there was something about springtime that made me want to do something I’d never tried before and to me, it was artistic.
I planted a sunflower garden.
Just to let you know right off the bat — I am not a gardener and don’t pretend to be. I don’t like bugs or worms or even dirt. I have always let my neighbors grow their beautiful gardens and willingly take the fruit of their labors off their hands — literally. I’ve enjoyed all the lemons, tomatoes, apricots and just about anything they want to give me.
But sunflowers make me happy and I was going through a particularly hard time last year. I thought, why not throw myself into trying something I’ve never done before and know that whatever happens, I’m going to be happy if even just one flower blooms.
I thought I’d better get some expert advice first, so I made a trip to Green Thumb Nursery in Newhall. The ladies were more than excited to help me. I spoke in detail with Sandy Cudmore, who happens to be a neighbor, so she knew the challenges of our canyon soil. She also helped me select a wide variety of sunflow- er seeds (did you know there were chocolate sunflowers?)
I also had long talks with Janet Kane. She had grown sunflowers through the years and walked me through the seedling stage. I bought some planting flats, a lot of good soil and found a perfect nesting place with plenty of sunshine in my husband’s garage (Yes, it’s his. He takes care of all the cars).
I started the process in early March. I even let the grandkids help. It was hit and miss as we put little seeds in finger size holes. Once all the planting flats were filled with seeds, we covered them with saran wrap and placed them on top of the freezer in the window. I would water them and carefully cover them back up as the seedlings started to sprout.
Once they were about 3 inches, I started the process of planting them in my carefully selected garden area (which previously held rose bushes that were getting pretty old).
Here’s where more help came in handy. I had a detailed map, thanks to Sara, the take-off person at my husband’s company. I used this map to lay out the sunflowers according to color and height.
My gardener helped me prepare the soil with enrichments and cul- tivation, and even helped me with the backbreaking job of planting the little seedlings.
We watered and waited.
I can’t tell you the excitement of watching those first stems grow. My grandkids would come over and we’d measure their growth with the flowers. And when that very first sunflower opened — well, it was pure bliss.
By Easter, I had a pretty good crop and by May it was an amazing sight. I decided to invite my girlfriends over for a May Day/Sunflower tea and we all enjoyed the afternoon eat- ing little sandwiches and marveling at Mother Nature’s wonderfulness.
Yup, those sunflowers turned what could have been a bad year into a joyous one. And I’m doing it again this year. I’m running a little behind schedule because of all the rain,
but I’m thinking it might be for the better because I want this new crop to last into the summer.
As far as the garage area is con- cerned, I’m investing in a little greenhouse that will have enough room to hold all my gardening tools and soils, and give me a space to sit back, sip some wine and watch the flowers grow.
It’s going to be another beautiful year.