Gardening made up as we go along

Posts tagged ‘helianthus’

In bloom

This might be the last post on the garden blog for a while; it looks as if it will be going onto a hiatus, for various reasons we don’t need to go into, for an indefinite period. Nevertheless, in the last post I promised to give an update on whether or not the strange chimeric bird food plant—a sunflower surrounded by wheat—would flower. And, indeed, it did. To the delight, as you can see, of bumblebees.


I took this picture about six weeks ago, and it’s been sitting in my to-do pile since. You can see the heads of wheat at the bottom, green still; by now everything has ripened, the wheat has gone yellow and the sunflower has turned into seed for all the local birds. Six weeks ago, as you can see, its yellow was still rich. I’m intrigued by the shape, those tendril-like petals extending like tentacles all the way round. Naturally, I have no idea of finding out what variety it is to try to reproduce it.

sunflower, helianthus, bee, bumblebee


A chimera

If there were any regular readers of this blog, they would have noticed that since the last post, when the garden was being radically relandscaped, there haven’t been any further updates. Well, the landscaping has finished since then, the garden now has a lawn, an apple tree and a variety of beds which are slowly being populated with plants. So far, of course, the plants all appear to be tiny little things somewhat dwarfed by the amount of empty bare earth between them, but that will slowly change.

This post, though, is something of an aside, before I get around to the Proper Post with a map of the garden and summaries of some of the plants that have been scattered about. Because between a couple of plants which had been properly planted, a strange weed grew up. It started growing and grew up fast; and it seemed to have a strange mixture of leaves, some of them long and thin like a grass and some broad and heart-shaped. In other words almost as if it was a chimera of two completely different types of plant, half-monocotelydon and half-dicotelydon. Outside of science fiction, that’s completely and utterly impossible.

Well, I looked at it more closely today, and I’ve realised what it is. Take a look yourself and see if you can spot it.

A strange chimera

So what sort of plant is it, that I’ve realised I have? It’s a bird food plant, of course!

No, really, look. In the middle, that’s a typical sunflower stem with its flower forming at the centre. Round the outside, some sort of cereal plant, possibly barley. Why on earth would you have a sunflower and a few stems of barley all germinating in exactly the same spot? Because a small lump of bird seed cake was dropped there and has started to grow, of course.

Whether it was accidentally dropped by a passing jackdaw or wood pigeon, or whether it was in the topsoil when it arrived and has germinated now it has light, I don’t know and will never know. The topsoil certainly does have a good number of weed seeds in it, a significant proportion of them nettles, so it possibly was in the soil before it was spread out. The sunflower has probably started a little late in the season for best results, but it will be interesting to see just how high and fast it manages to grow before autumn. If it flowers, I’ll make sure I take a picture.

weeds, weed, sunflower, helianthus