A few years back, I was looking at the Seeds of Change seed catalog, choosing seeds for the following year. I was looking at the perennial flower seed section, out of deference to Ali’s perennial preference, and was surprised to find a sunflower listed there. Maximillian sunflowers (Helianthus Maximilianii), the catalog promised, come back in abundance and grow prolifically enough to form a hedge. I did not hesitate.
In the first year, they grew much as you might expect a sunflower or Jerusalem Artichoke to grow, sending up tall stalks and flowering obligingly at the end of the summer. The second year, though, we noticed that where there had been Maximillian sunflowers the year before, there were numerous stalks emerging. These promising sprouts soon grew into thickets, and I saw what they meant when they mentioned hedges. By the time they flowered at summer’s end, they had colonized huge tracts of the garden.
Their display only lasts a few weeks, but they really go for it:
I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for some carefree color and possibly hoping to obstruct a view. I have tons of seeds if anyone is interested. (I take a handful for myself each year and the birds get the rest)
It isn’t so easy to get things done in the garden these days, with only the weekends available to me. On Sunday, though, Ali watched the kids for a little while so I could put some chicken wire up around a nice new raised bed that he’d made. Then I went and planted some garlic in our old corn bed. Garlic is one of my favorite things to grow; you just plant it and forget about it until the spring. It is like money in the bank when you put a bowl full of garlic cloves in the dirt. We used all of the largest heads from our harvest this past June, and my mom sent a lovely big head of garlic that she had gotten at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. That one is a hard-neck garlic, which I have never grown before – we always grow soft-necks and I make them into braids. It’ll be interesting to see what the hard-necks are like.