The Happy Tournesols


Tournesol in French. Girasol in Spanish. Both are the same word in different languages— sunflower. Both words meaning the same: to turn to the sun. This flower which symbolizes adoration, loyalty and longevity is cheerful and bright as its name— flower of the sun. It’s petals resembling the rays of the sun remind us that even on a cloudy day, there is always sun after.

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This was my first year growing sunflowers. For some reason I never had a desire to grow them but all that has changed thanks to these beauties. I grew them from seed and they were super easy and germinated pretty fast. I find that the trick is to keep them well watered when you plant, during germination and when they are young. Once they get about 18 inches tall they start tolerating the summer heat much better and do not require as much water.

I planted an Autumn Sunset mix that included beautiful beautiful yellow, orange, and russet colors. It is said to grow around 40-60 inches but let me tell you, I’m 6’1” (73”) and these plants are way taller than me… and they look gorgeous. They also provide food for pollinators, which is I have not cut any flowers. And I am ok with that.

Do you grow sunflowers? What is your favorite variety?


For the Love of Bees {summer Saturday}


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When I first moved to Minnesota, about four years ago, I hardly saw any pollinators around this area and it struck me as odd because I live in farm country. But then again because of the farming and the pesticide that are use I was there not really surprised. So I made it my mission to at least be an agent of change in some level and create an environment that would attract pollinators, especially bees and butterflies. So imagine how happy I am when I go to my little plot of land and sea that little garden is buzzing with bees. From purple coneflowers to beautiful sunflowers, the bees are all over them. Pollinators, but especially bees, being me joy. In that moment, as you watch them hop from flower to flower, you see nature’s circle of life at its finest. And wait until the New England aster starts blooming. Then it will be the most beautiful dance between the bees and the Monarch butterflies.

This morning as I stepped into my little garden I could hear the buzz and I couldn’t tell right away where he was coming from but didn’t realize it was coming from these flowers. Everything was perfectly aligned to give me that immediate moment of a perfect summer garden. The sun was shining, there was a warm with a little breeze, the flowers were strikingly brilliant and in that moment it was perfect joy.

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I was not planning on cutting any flowers to bring them inside but I wanted to capture that moment in the garden inside my house. Are I went and got an old measuring vase that is chipped on the lip so we cannot use it for measuring food. And I cut a few blooms to bring inside and bring that feeling of summer indoors.

A few clippings of cosmos, of echinacea, purple clover, ferns, rudbeckia and Queen Anne’s Lace. All of them in a simple arrangement that made me smile. And how can I not? Look at those colors!

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Thank you National Pollinator Gardens Network for inspiring us with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (http://millionpollinatorgardens.org). I am not at that level yet but this effort is a source of inspiration. Check it out if you have not. Good people doing good things.

Wishing you all a wonderful week head full of those little magic moments that summer brings. Happy gardening!