Somewhere in the grey depths of March, I sowed rows and rows of sunflower seeds in plastic trays with clear covers. I placed them where I could find sunlit windows, watered them a little, and watched hopefully as each lid bubbled with tiny drops of condensation. By April, shoots were clearly visible, and I moved the trays to the greenhouses behind the house, where they soon doubled in height.
The day after frost warnings were past, I planted my collection of sunflower plants all around the house and barns. All Summer they have towered into the sky, shouting their delight in her sunshine and warm weather. I brought them into the house, too, and sat them on window sills and tables, beside books and alongside summer vegetables from our farm and farms all around. Its never possible, I believe, to have too many sunflowers around.
All that sunflower jubilance, after all, is short lived.
This week, I’ve been going about the sad task of cutting down stalks and carting them off to the compost pile. I can’t bring myself to harvest the few blossoms that still remain, as joyous and open to the sunshine as ever – Summer’s last hurrah.