I've been all about the sunflowers ever since they began blooming. I love this time of year. For several years, we grew a field of sunflowers and sold them by the side of the road. Life has gotten busier as our Leyden Glen Lamb biz needs more time. Three years ago, we scaled the sunflower field back replacing the sunflowers with hay. I now grow the sunflowers in my veggie garden. The neighbors can't enjoy them like they used to on the busy road, but I can keep sharing them here with you all.
Today, I bring you close-ups of individual blooms. I hope this series will inspire you to plant your own sunflowers - or paint them, or stitch them, knit them, crochet them, or have a bouquet from the grocery store in your kitchen. Sunflowers bring such joy, don't they?
Several years ago, I did a similar feature photographing single blooms on Indian block-print fabrics. This year, since it is all about embroidery with the release of my book Colorful Stitchery later in the month, I photographed my blooms on embroidered fabrics in my textile collection. (Signed copies of Colorful Stitchery available Sept. 21st in my webshop here.)
These are the sunflowers that are blooming in the garden this week. There will be more varieties to come which I hope to have time to photograph. I have given you the name of each of the flowers, if I can determine them. Some were self-seeded. This year I bought most of my sunflowers from Sunflower Selections out of California. They are the retail arm of NuFlowersLLC which is the lifework of Dr. Tom Heaton. How interesting to spend a lifetime breeding sunflowers! Packages are a little large (100 seeds each) so you could share with a friend. I did fill in with some varieties from Johnny's Selected Seeds - including Autumn Beauty and Sungold (not yet blooming).
Here we go.... enjoy the close-ups!
Joker - I love this flower because it is very prolific with many flowers on a single plant. Flowers vary in size with first one about 7 inches and smaller side shoots about 4-5". The photograph shows a large top flower as it is beginning to make seeds. Many, many flowers per plant. Photographed on Indian patchwork embroidery.
Orange Ruffles - This is a new one this year for me. It has long slim petals. Around the disk, there are small little petals that are quite frilly. Very pretty and delicate. Branching and multiple flowers per plant. Photographed on a mirrored embroidered piece from India.
Greenburst - Another new one for me. There is a small center of pretty green surrounded by a fluffy large center. On the outside there are long petals. Lots of blooms on one stalk and as with all branching sunflowers, the first top bloom is the largest. Photographed on a suzani embroidery.
Starburst Panache - Another fluffy sunflower but this one is all orange. The center is speckled with rust. Branching habit too so lots of flowers from one plant. Photographed on a piece of Indian embroidery.
Procut BiColor - The Pro Cut series of sunflowers are what professional growers supply to florists and grocery stores. They are available in 11 colors. This one is called BiColor with petals two toned with rust closer to the center disk and yellow on the outside. The disk is brown. Photographed on a piece of embroidery from Uzbekistan.
Autumn Beauty - We have been growing this variety purchased from Johnny's for years and years. It is a longer season variety (over 90 days to bloom) and the colors are varied. If you only want to grow one variety, this would be my choice. They get very tall and branch like crazy. They make a nice hedge or barrier. Colors range from lemon, gold, brown, rust, red and bi-colored. This is the first Autumn Beauty to bloom and it is a light lemon with reddish variegation close to the center disk. Autumn Beauties are not pollenless so expect pollen dripping on your tables if you are a neat freak. Photographed on a piece of Indian shisha embroidery.
Moulin Rouge - This sunflower is a stunner because no one expects a maroon sunflower, do they? They are a bit delicate so do not travel well. I assume that is why you barely ever see them available at stores. Very tall. Short season, meaning quick to bloom (about 65 days). Branching habit with many blooms per plant. I love this flower. Photographed on another piece of Indian embroidery with mirrors.
Stella Gold - I found this sunflower variety years ago and then it disappeared. I was so happy to find it again last year from Sunflower Selections. I love the quirkiness of this flower - the long slim petals on the dark, large disk. Non-branching meaning only one flower per stalk but worth it because it is so oddly beautiful.
This last sunflower reminds me of classic sunflowers. It is from a plant that self-seeded in my garden, hence no name. This plant just keeps putting out the flowers. As you can see, there is pollen dripping out of the center outer ring. Photographed on a piece of cross-stitch I found at a yard sale. From the motifs, I assume it is probably from a Slavic country.
I hope I will have time to capture more photos to share with you all as the other varieties I planted bloom. BTW, you can buy PDF's for knit and crochet sunflowers on my on-line store - here and here. My sunflowers even inspired me to write a book called 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet and Felt.