Herb of the Week for 1st February
Spectacular and radiating their joy to all who see them our sunflowers
at the herb farm are putting on a fantastic show at the moment.
I have yet to see the action of the flower heads following the sun. Heliotropic is the word for this and on doing some research on this it seems it is more likely to happen in the bud stage than when the flowers are in full bloom. By then the stems have stiffened and the cells that perform this function are not able to turn the large heads.
Isn't nature truly amazing!
Sunflowers provide nectar for bumblebees and honeybees and if you do not pick the flower heads once the seeds appear then they will provide nutritious food for the birds in your garden too.
I always save my own seed and if you plant seeds every few weeks you will get a show of flowers over a long period.
However this year has been too dry to do this. I am planning to sow some more if we get rain soon to try and get some late bloomers.
Sunflowers are native to North America and to the natives they were a true herb with every part of the sunflower being used. Flowers and leaves were used as dye and the seeds were a valuable source of protein and fats. The strong dried stalks were used as building materials.
Sunflowers are often grown commercially for oil production.
The oil is used for cooking as well as in skin creams.
Nowadays sunflowers come in a variety of sizes and colours.
Be mindful though that if you try to save seed from hybrid flowers they may not germinate.
Saving seed of the regular ones and sowing it each year is a wonderful way to keep in touch with the life cycles of the nature and you can be sure that these bright sunny flowers will bring pleasure too all who see them.