If I Were a Sunflower….

IMG_2739For the first time ever I seem to have achieved some success with sunflowers – admittedly there were a few that managed to reach flowering stage last year, but that was by luck rather than judgement as invariably the young seedlings have been ‘shoved’ in a border amidst other things, where they have got lost, eaten or just died from general lack of TLC. ‘Shoving in’ is not really recommended gardening practice…..

IMG_2737This year, however, young seedlings have been nurtured in the greenhouse as before, but then planted in the cutting beds (although there are a few ‘spare’ that have still undergone the shoving in procedure). Above is one from a packet of ‘Ruby Eclipse’ being trialled for ‘Which? Gardening’, and the only one so far which looks like the picture on the packet – another has a light brown ring whilst a shorter one is plain yellow. The taller ones are about my height, so short in the human adult stakes, but middling as far as sunflowers go. It looks as if they will be branching a little to give more flowers, but there may still not be stems long enough to cut.

IMG_2741These ‘Ruby Eclipse’ have been flowering for only about a week, unlike ‘Topolino’ which started producing flowers about a month ago – bright custard powder yellow ones on small sturdy plants. They are short enough to be grown in a pot, where they will apparently grow to about 12-18″ (30-45cm) – in the cutting bed they still reach no more than 24″ (60cm), although there is a huge variation in the plants themselves, with the one on the left growing really stocky with a stem nearly 2″ (5cm) across and huge leaves – I wonder what the flowers on this plant will be like when they open?! I like the red band on the Ruby Eclipse flowers a lot but I especially like this Topolino variety for its sturdiness, cheerfulness and no-nonsense attitude. Perhaps this is the variety I would be if I were a sunflower….


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38 Responses to If I Were a Sunflower….

  1. Silver Threading says:

    I have never seen the pink colored one before. How lovely.

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    Ruby Eclipse is gorgeous – I’ve tried a similar one before (can’t remember the name) them before and just got some really deep rusty reddy brown ones instead. Not exactly what I was aiming at…

  3. Fabulous Cathy…love Ruby Eclipse.

  4. Cathy says:

    Love that ruby coloured one – gorgeous! I’d be that one if I was a sunflower! 😉

  5. Anna says:

    Molluscs usually munch sunflowers whenever I attempt to grow them, although this year I’ve got one to the allotment but it seems to be sulking. I do like the look of ‘Ruby Eclipse’ although ‘Topolino’ looks most cheerful too.

    • Cathy says:

      I tried the coffee grounds trick on these ones Anna – and I am sure it helped not having them surrounded by lots of other vegetation either. Molluscs have certainly seen my sunflowers off in the past…

  6. Kris P says:

    Ruby is lovely even if her performance is variable.

  7. bittster says:

    That first Ruby is real nice, I like the double row of petals and of course the color. Is that the other Topilino which has come up so sturdy? It’s so robust it almost looks a little intimidating!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the last picture is the short row of Topolino – meeting the one on the left on a dark night would not be recommended if you were a garden gnome! 🙂

  8. Christina says:

    I quite like your trial sunflower but if it isn’t a consistent colour then maybe it would be best to from a Dahlia!

  9. Oh but they are beautiful! I have had some success with sunflowers in my garden, but so often their little heads just want to turn the “wrong” way for show. They sure do follow the sun! I haven’t grown any in a few years and I now wonder why!

  10. croftgarden says:

    Predictably I prefer the sturdy no nonsense traditional yellow variety. I might try some in the veg garden next year to compete with the marigolds.

  11. Annette says:

    Ruby Eclipse is such a beauty! I think all gardeners know that feeling, Cathy, of shoving something in and wondering what on earth happened to it. I sowed some sunflowers in the potager…guess they were eaten by the slugs as soon as they stuck their heads out. Slug summer really 😉

  12. What a beautiful colour “Ruby Eclipse” is! My attempts at growing sunflowers are often quashed courtesy of those slugs and snails.

    • Cathy says:

      Seems to be a very common problem from what people are saying – makes a change from hosta leaves, I suppose… 🙂

  13. Pauline says:

    What a gorgeous sunflower, makes a nice change from the yellow ones!

  14. No-nonsense certainly, but sturdy only in spirit and ability to tackle bricklaying etc! I love the shorter multi-branching burnt orange sunflowers, I may try them in my mini cutting bed next year, its the only place I would get to see the flowers, the “follow the sun” thing can be irritating. Glad you are enjoying the fruits of not-bunging!

    • Cathy says:

      Tee hee – I may be short, but I am definitely sturdy and tough rather than petite and delicate! My sunflowers seem to be multidirectional with no particular preference – hadn’t realised that this can be an issue

  15. Chloris says:

    I love sunflowers, particularly, Ruby Eclipse. I hope they are still standing when Bertha has finished with them. She has wrecked my sunflowers. On the plus side no watering required today, what a relief.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh your poor sunflowers! My ramble today was before any wind, but during the rain (hurrah for an inch of rain!) – we only had a few gusts and the garden is quite sheltered but I suppose I should go and check….

  16. That is such a gorgeous sunflower! I haven’t grown any for a few years now but seeing this one make me want to try again.

    • Cathy says:

      I am so pleased to have persisted with trying, despite failures – and it has certainly been worth growing them in a cutting bed rather than a border, although I would like to have success with them in a border too!

  17. Hi Cathy, I have enjoyed looking at others photos of their vases due to participating in your meme “Monday in a Vase.” So, I decided to send in my contribution. I am a writer and a gardener and my blog serves to keep me working at both! I hope this is what is required to participate….if there is something else, can you let me know? I have a good readership, so your link will reach many. Many thanks, Susie at life-change-compost. Here is my post with my current Monday kitchen vases at the bottom of the post:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you for joining in Susie – glad that seeing other people’s contributions has encouraged you to join us 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Oh – and it’s usually about this time that I post my vase on a Monday, so if you hold fire adding your comment you can link into the actual vase post to make sure people catch YOUR link!

  18. Good idea. Would it be okay to add my link to your latest? Honestly, life is so challenging at the moment, I used the blog as a way to keep my creative spirits up. So, I just did it when I could. Thanks for bearing with me.

    • Cathy says:

      Of course it would, Susie. I too have found that blogging has exceeded any expectations I might have had for it in the first place 😉

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