A flower for today: Sunflower

The little Sunflower from my garden and the hard-working bee

I don’t know why flowers are the plants that help me the most to remember my childhood. Today I chose the sunflower.

Many sunflower plants grew in my childhood garden. At that time I was not too interested in the beauty of the flowers, but rather in the seeds that I adored when they were not yet too ripe. They had a special taste. In order to have as many seeds as possible, I had to fight with sparrows and starlings, for they also loved sunflower seeds. When the yellow petals started to mature, I looked for plastic bags and covered the big head of the plant and so I was left with some seeds for myself, because the birds were smart enough to find a way to reach the seeds, but the bags scared them a little and so I also had some seeds.

Later, when I was a student and travelled more often by train during June and July, I admired the endless fields of sunflower waving along the railroad tracks.

Moving to Southend-on-Sea I didn’t know what kind of plants I could grow in my little garden. In the first evening walks, in the surroundings, I saw the sunflower in a neighbouring garden. I decided: next spring I will also have sunflowers in my garden. I put the small seeds directly in the garden’s soil. Dozens of plants with large, yellow heads have grown. When the flowers started to wither, I wanted to see if the birds start eating the seeds when they ripen. It seems that the birds here do not know that the seeds can be eaten directly from the plant and not just from the feeders in people’s gardens. But I was amazed when I offered a sunflower head with juicy seeds to a neighbour. She told me that saw that I had such beautiful flowers in the garden, but she did not know what to do with the flower that had already passed. I told her that there are very tasty and juicy seeds, if they are not too ripe. She looked at me in astonishment and told me that she did not know that such a thing was possible. But she took the head of the sunflower.

This morning I noticed that the sunflower plants started to bloom. They are not as big as in the first year due to the cold in April and the drought now, but they are still such beautiful flowers. Their colour and the diligence with which the bees swarm around them always give me a special joy to live. That’s why a visit to my sunflowers, in the early hours of the morning, is like a medicine for my soul and body.

Rejoicing in the beauty of the flowers around me, I understand better what Psalm 118 means in verse 24: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”.

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