sunflower sagas

Saturday, 1 March 2014

I had great aspirations of making a sunflower fort for the kids [ok, and me] over summer, and boy, did I try. This was my romantic notion, thanks to Pinterest:

I started off by putting in some serious effort digging a ring-shape into the back lawn. My daughter and I designed it with a front entrance and a secret side exit, then planted the circle out with a mass of giant sunflower seeds. We were SO excited when they started germinating. Only to discover that so were the snails. And Dad's whipper-snipper. 

After a few more attempts at  direct-seeding we switched tactics to grow seedlings for planting out instead. That was all tracking along nicely until the crazy toddler tipped out the seedling trays. Repeatedly. 

Finally we had grown a batch of sunflower seedings which we planted out successfully. They grew! And then I realised, somehow in the midst of going back for repeat packets of sunflower seeds, I'd picked up a spindly knee-high variety instead of the giants. Wahhhhhh. Parental fail.

Even though the fort didn't work out, we did have success with some giant sunflowers in the vegie patch. They looked pretty magical with their plate-sized flowers, and were practical too - providing some shade to other vegies and acting as a natural trellis for our lebanese cucumbers.   

The giant sunflowers have died off now and we pulled them out over the weekend. I enlisted the kids to help harvest the seeds, which we can hopefully use to make the ultimate sunflower fort next year [I've gotta redeem myself!]. The seed harvesting was a really fun activity to do together - the sunflower heads have great patterns and textures, and there's something therapeutic in hanging out on the back lawn picking seeds. Check out the pics below, and my daughter's video, breaking down all things sunflower.      

Take care,


  1. Hi Claire,

    Just be aware sunflowers don't always grow true-to-type from saved seed. I had some of the mammoth variety a few years ago and replanted the seeds saved from the 2+ metre tall plant. All the new plants only grew to 50cm tall. Had lovely small flowers though.



    1. Thanks Will! Didn't realise that - you may have spared me more pain this summer ;) Will try my saved seeds in the vegie patch instead! Thank you :)