Fabulous Flower Friday: Sunflowers

in the beginning

It is Fabulous Flower Friday!  Our focus today is on Sunflowers.

perfect for bees

I have to say that I am a huge fan of perennials, but sunflowers are one of the few flowers which I love to plant every year.

They love full sun, and in our windy area I have to have supports for them.  I’ve just done some reading on them, and honestly everything I read doesn’t hold for me so that leads me to believe that sunflowers will grow anywhere and in any condition!

support for the short ones, too

We usually start seeds in late spring in medium sized pots inside where I have a sunny hallway.  Then we plant them in the garden after all chance of frost has passed.

these teepee-like supports worked really well (from 2015)

fall view 2016

fall view pears and sunflowers 2016

There really is very little extra work involved in care, other than supporting them.  This year the stems on the large plants were more than two inches thick!  Their roots were substantial, too, which left me fighting with them when it was time to pull them out!

Beautiful throughout the fall

LOADS of seeds

I did save the seeds this year, but I might have waited a bit too long before I gathered them.  We’ll see!

so many varieties!  This is a single dwarf plant

so many blooms

squished blooms!

Sunflowers provide beauty in the garden through the entire fall and well into the winter, too if you leave them be!

sunflowers to the right

And that’s a wrap.  What variety will you grow this year?

In peace,
Dana

Fabulous Flower Friday: Hellebores

Hellebore

Hellebore

The star of this Fabulous Flower Friday: Hellebores!
Botanical name: Helleborus sps.

Hellebore

Hellebore

I’ve written about Hellebores before, but I thought it would be nice to have some detailed information about them. I even learned why mine aren’t flourishing …  😉

Hellebore

Hellebore

Hellebores are perennial plants which flower in late winter, being mostly frost resistant, and early spring.  They have been referred to as Christmas or Lenten Roses due to their flowering period.  Their appeal is not only for their lovely delicate flowers but their foliage as well.

hellebore deep purple

hellebore deep purple

Spring time is the ideal time to plant.  They like rich, well drained soil (bingo! that’s one of my issues …).  They are hardy plants and do especially well in shade.  My second problem is that they don’t like strong winds.

 

Hellebore Winter Sunshine

Hellebore Winter Sunshine (with most of the leaves cut away)

I usually add our organic compost to the plants in the fall.  I think I’ll be taking the advice of the Royal Horticultural Society though, and I’ll also add some general-purpose fertiliser this spring at 50-70g per square metre (1½-2 oz per square yard).

Hellebore

Hellebore: the flowers usually hang down

When to prune: late winter or early spring.  For me, it was obvious because my plants suffer from hellebore leaf spot.  For this fungus based disease, simply cut away the affected leaves and ensure that all diseased leaves are removed from around the plant. This is the best defence to keeping the plant healthy. Cutting away the leaves will also help to open up the plant and make the flowers more visible and also more available for insects.  This eases the pollination process, which is good for future seeds.

Hellebore

Hellebore (a deep purple)

The weather has been quite gray the past few weeks. I’d still go out into the garden, though, in search of something nice and it was delightful to see all of these beauties.

hellebore side view

hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Interesting fact from Wikipedia: The scientific name Helleborus derives from the Greek name for H. orientalis, ἑλλέβορος helléboros, from elein “to injure” and βορά borá “food”.[2] Many species are poisonous.

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

I bought the Frilly Isabelle last year while on a garden tour with my ‘gardening girlfriends’.   What a lovely day that was, and now I’m reminded of that day every time I see this beautiful flower!

Hellebore

Hellebore

There are so many varieties to choose from.  I have hellebores gracing 4 different flower beds, and I’m still collecting…

Susan's Hellebore

Hellebore from Susan’s garden

I hope you’ve learned something new about Hellebores today!  Maybe you’ll give them a try in your garden, too.

In peace,
Dana