The tireless beauty of sunflowers
An inch or two of soil on top will at least keep out the silliest birds.
It would be charitable to water and weed the plants. But the fields rented by the Barrons lack irrigation. And “once you start watering, it’s almost like they’re expecting to be watered,” Mr. Barron said.
“They don’t get a lot of attention,” Ms. Barron added.
In the end, only 3,000 of the sunflowers will be made into bouquets. Some will start to open on a Monday. At the Friday harvest, they fall like Sam Elliott’s mustache. Branched varieties may not flower until a severe frost in September.
“Damn flowers,” Mr. Barron said.
Many of their flowers are pollen free by design. But leave the gigantic open-pollinated varieties in the yard for sowing, and you have a 12-foot-tall bird feeder. Alternatively, attach a paper bag, such as a muzzle, to catch the crop.
These are the familiar seeds with the bootlegger’s gray and white stripes on the sides. The marking, it seems, is purely ornamental.
As Dr Heaton said: “A black sunflower seed hides a lot of flaws when handling. I think it’s just the presentation of the product: it’s what the customer likes.
The natives would have found a different shell when they collected wild seeds to roast them, grind them into flour, and then prepare them into “cakes or porridge,” writes Dr. Heiser.
Ultimately, he admits to being baffled by the sunflower’s most enduring mystery. The “hulls of the wild sunflower are very fibrous and probably not very appetizing,” he muses. “Although their elimination is a difficult and tedious task. “
It is not difficult to imagine the first American gardener, standing at the edge of a meadow contemplating a palm of sunflower seeds: What could go wrong if I swallowed the shell?