Monday, July 23, 2012

Out of the Drought

I have a gigantic sunflower growing along side of my fence.  The stalk measures a good 2 inches in diameter and the flower is already ten foot tall and the sunflower head is still forming. 

I didn't plant the seed for this plant, in fact I haven't planted sunflower seeds in years.  I have black oiled sunflower seeds for the birds and while it is stated to be sterile, little sunflowers pop up all over under the bird feeder.  They never reach a height much past a foot tall.  This gigantic sunflower, the way sunflowers are supposed to look could be a mutant black seed from my bird feeder, dropped 20 yards from the feeder and finding fertile soil and growing.  If it didn't come from my bird feeders, it more than likely still hitched its ride to its growing spot via some flying and feathered aviator. 

The fact that this is the largest sunflower I have ever grown is one thing.  With most of my sunflowers I have practiced benign neglect, pretty much putting the seed in the ground and then hoping for the best.  These flowers get watered only when I run the sprinkler in dry conditions and only if they are in line with an area I actually care about watering.  This guy ended up in my vegetable garden area.  Its the sandiest portion of my garden but isn't really good for growing flowers and is roomy and allows for rototilling. That the flower wasn't worked up with the many "go-overs" the garden endured to get the veggies the best growing conditions and the least competition from weeds, is something of a small miracle.   The sunflower wasn't recognizable as such until the last month when it took off in height.  Before that when I took the time to think on it at all, I believed it was some kind of weed that would need to be dug out later.  It got away from me, well I got away from it, preferring to ignore the vegetable garden in the early going, only to note what came up and what didn't. 

But the drought struck and I halfheartedly watched as my lettuce wilted, and my peas were spotty at best.  I thought of watering but realized it was too little, too late.  When the rains didn't come into July, I watered the sweet corn and the zucchini hoping to salvage at least those two.  But the raccoons played in the sweet corn and took the very good cobs of corn and left nothing but the husks.   I thought nothing could kill zucchini but apparently there is a wilt that can and did. 

The sunflower was ignored in my sad garden, until it was the only thing of note in that sandy, dusty barren area.  It just grew until it shouted to me to look.  It was a small tree, and it commanded attention, at least it commanded my attention.  It was growing out of sandy ground that hadn't seen a good rain in 6 weeks.  It grew tall in spite of all this.  It hasn't wilted in the intense heat of an unusual summer.  We will likely set records this summer for triple digits not seen every week ever in recorded meteorology.  We have become cranky and tired of the heat, and the burned, straw grass and the plants that have just dried up and disappeared.  But the sunflower not only grows, it will soon flower.  I now look forward to the huge yellow head and will watch it as it follows the sun across the sky.  Its not every day you grow a sunflower like this.  Its not every day you appreciate that flower.  Its not every day you know you are seeing one small miracle and one of God's best. 

Its not every day but today it is...

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