This is another episode of Previously on Amara and is from the summer of 2009. Amara would have been five years old and would start kindergarten in the fall. It was the summer of the sunflowers. It was also the summer of Aunt Sandy and Uncle Mark but that is a memory all of it’s own.
In January of 2008 the Santa Ana winds hit hard and the old wooden fence running along the back of AmaraLand was already in very bad shape. It did not survive the winds. It was replaced by a beautiful brick wall that the cats (and lizards) really love. The price of that beautiful fence was that they killed all of my lilies. It really couldn’t be helped they just didn’t survie the stomping and extra concrete mix that landed on them. All summer I hoped that my lilies would come back. None of them did.
The following summer funds were a little tight and I really wasn’t in a position to replace all of my lilies the way that I wanted to but I could certainly afford a package of Giant Sunflower seeds for Amara and I to grow! Unlike the pumpkins that would NOT grow our sunflowers certainly did!
Amara and I planted the seeds along the fence line about a foot apart. I was so amazed when they started coming up and also surprised that so many of them were coming up! Like everything else we do in AmaraLand she would go running back there to check on them when ever she came over. None of us had any idea of the giants that were to come!
My Daddy used to tell me that in Michigan during the summertime, if you listened you could hear the corn growing at night — because it grows so fast. I was pretty sure I could hear the sunflowers growing at night. The 2 that were right in the center of our fence seemed to be growing the fastest and the tallest.
Within just a couple of weeks they were peaking their heads OVER the new fence! And they just kept growing! I could no longer stand on top of my gardening stool and see into their center where I knew the flowers were growing. The morning of June 22nd the flowers started to open. The tallest plant was easily 10 feet tall. Nine hours later the flower had unflurled and it’s colors were just amazing. The sunflowers stood so straight and tall with their flowers looking like their heads. Grandpa commented on how much they looked like Triffids from the old sci-fi movie — and they really did! You could just imagine them uprooting themselves and starting to walk!
I know that I enjoyed watching the flowers open even more than Amara did and I loved photographing them, and her! We watched the bees that buzzed around them and the ladybugs that slept curled in their leaves. We watched as the faces of the sunflowers changed. They went from flat and deep green in their centers with golden yellow on the outer edge to big fat fuzzy heads. It was about then that the flowers seemed so heavy that they couldn’t stand up straight any more. As they got heavier and couldn’t hold their heads up we would prop them on the fence. Now they really looked like they were looking over at the neighbors.
One month later after they bloomed we cut the sunflowers down. First we cut their heads off — and the headless Triffids really did look funny! I was going to pull the stalks up but we found a bunch of ladybugs and figured there was no reason to leave them homeless. I could wait. And I did and when it was time Amara tried to help me uproot them. She had a blast jumping on the stalks.
We hung them by ropes to dry and we shelled a couple of the heads. Shelling them was not easy, much like pulling teeth but we had fun. We never got around to cooking our sunflower seeds but we did make lots of trips to the park to feed the ducks.
We grew giant sunflowers and we made giant memories!