The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

73 thoughts on “The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]”

  1. Your little sunflower is a happy little plant! I’m glad you are giving it a chance. Maybe it’s a dwarf sunflower. And it looks like there are lots of blooms. Enjoy! And like the old saying goes, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beth, this little sunflower is supposed to be about 4′ tall, a small sunflower but one that reaches for the sky– not lurks around near the ground. 🤨 However, you’re right– as long as it is growing, all is well.

      Like

  2. Perhaps you’re merely charmed by it. It’s making up for its deficiency in height by mere gumption and gladness. It’s like a Floral Little Engine That Could, winking at you with mischief.

    Just smile and wink back.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So this sunny girl is an “interspecific hybrid” according to the website. That raises more questions than your post Ms. Bean. Leave her be, she is pretty and seems to be blooming nicely, then next season go find some REAL sunflowers! Better yet, if you really want a challenge, and perhaps answer the mellow versus old-age questions, get a few packs of those mystery seeds that promise a lush wildflower garden and scatter them in the bed. Do you think your patience can handle that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I read about the Sunfinity, too. 🤔 It’s a little odd, but the garden nursery was pushing it so I thought why not give it a try. Although, like you suggested, next summer I’ll go with basic old sunflowers.

      I planted zinnias from seed and am giving them all the time and space they need proving I can be patient… when I know that I’ll adore the results. Now those mixed-up wildflower seeds… I dunno about them!

      Like

  4. I have a few bushes that did that, both ways. I have some viburnums that grow 6 to 8′. I pruned back at 10′. Then I have a variegated dogwood bush that grows to 6′. After 5 years it’s still struggling at 3′ and it’s in full sun! I’ve come to believe those dang tags are suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I think that you’re right about those tags. I find that often reality is nothing at all like what the tag tells me is going to happen. We have some viburnums that get 10′ tall, too. And clearly this little sunflower isn’t doing what its tag suggested. You’ve figured it out. I’m not old, the tags mislead!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. nancy, I think it’s about time for Nature to ask that very question! Considering I was sold this little sunflower with a tag that told me it’d be taller, I feel my expectations are not out of line. HOWEVER, I take your meaning and am pleased that the little flowers are as vibrant as they are.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, we’ll see if these plants are for sale in the garden nursery next year. I won’t be buying them again, but while they’re here I’ll enjoy them… down there… near the ground…

          Like

    1. YES, yes, yes… you’re the garden guardian who defends the plants! And me? I’ll admit that I’m getting more indulgent regarding plants that don’t immediately take root. And this little sunflower is cute, so why not let it do its thing?

      Like

  5. LOLZ ‘The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl” Go with the gardening flow, Ally. I grow the garden of ‘mislabled plants’ or ‘somebody be playing with those plant tags again’. I have a Dwarf Lilac that is 15 feet tall. I have creamy white double peonies mixed in with the single bloom pink peonies I specifically bought and planted so they wouldn’t fall over from weight. I could go on, but I won’t. The nice thing about those creamy white double peonies is that they have the most incredible scent. I like to think of a garden as a surprise. BTW, love those little yellow whatevers. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Elen, that’s a doozy of a Dwarf Lilac you have there! I like your concept of a garden of mislabled plants; obviously it’s one that I need to learn to embrace. I don’t know what the deal is with this cute little yellow sunflower [?] but having read what you, and other commenters, have said about it I feel better. I’m not old and confused in the garden, I’m wise and accepting. Yep, Ally Bean the Gardener, 2.0. That’s me.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Carrie, I hear ‘ya. I find that I’m to a point when I get out of bed in the morning that I consciously say to myself: put two feet firmly on floor, then stand up. Like I’m old or something! 😟

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmmm…methinks your plant was mislabeled. Bummer, when you were specifically requiring height. I’m not the world’s most patient or loving gardener either, so I feel ya. It’s survival of the fittest at Chez Badass – indoors or out. If you thrive on neglect, you will do well under my (sporadic, inconsistent) care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I kind of wonder about that, too. If this is a black-eyed susan, then it’s doing great! I’m careful about planning what I put in the flower beds, but after the plants are in the ground… it’s up to the plant to impress me or it’s outta here. I want pretty, and I want it almost instantly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The only thing I ever intentionally tried to grow in my yard was sunflowers. Only one year did any of them make it past the seedling stage, and only a single solitary sunflower actually survived to stand tall…… er, relatively speaking anyway. It was a sad looking sunflower… more so than even your spunky little friend. But I liked it. It was so sad looking it was cute…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, I’m impressed that you got at least one flower to grow from seed. Sunflowers, sad or otherwise, are a pretty color so if nothing else that’s how they get you to think that they’re cute.

      Like

    1. Betsy, thank you. Sometimes I wonder about my wordsmithery skillz. Do I even make any sense? I’m giving this little sunflower all the latitude it needs. I’ve become a mellow gardener… oh yes I have!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I like sunflowers, too. Which is why I guess I haven’t been able to pull this slouch out of the ground. What it lacks in height, it makes up for in enthusiasm.

      Like

  8. It is disappointing when you think you have a certain plant all situated in the perfect spot only to find out maybe that isn’t the plan after all. Gardening is a lot of work, some enjoy it, some don’t, and as I age I do have a little more patience with it. After all, we’re not talking world peace here, just beautiful flowers that we hope grow tall. Right now, I have some seeds planted near two arbors and so far not a shoot has appeared. More patience needed I’m thinking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, I agree that gardening is a lot of work. Most of the time I enjoy it, especially the planning part. My plan was to have sunflowers behind a concrete bench that is fronted by a row of dark peach roses. I thought the yellow and peach would look pretty together, and they do. Just not in the way I’d envisioned them. Hope your seeds decide to get with the program and sprout, your arbors deserve it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you and I were seated next to each other during gardening lessons.

    “A garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it” pretty well describes my approach to outdoor maintenance. Personally, short or tall, I’d just be thrilled that the little one with an identity challenge is blooming like crazy. Call it a success and congratulation yourself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, as the day is wearing on I’m feeling more encouraged about this little sunflower plant. The colors are striking, and so what if it’s knee height instead of eyeball height? Like you said, it’s growing so let’s call it a success. 🌻

      Like

    1. L. Marie, yes you’re right. I’m usually too quick to give up on a plant, I guess. But this little sunflower [or black-eyed susan?] is making me happy today so it’s going to stay right where it is.

      Like

          1. I’m sure there are other plants just as lethal. In fact, our yard in NY was taken over by wild roses. I didn’t have any better sense and let them advance. The new owner had a bulldozer come in and get rid of them. It was already too late for the wisteria. It is firmly anchored to the ground and interwoven with the pergola. I jerked some weeds around this morning, so I’m feeling virtuous.

            Like

  10. I Am a patient gardener. But lemme tell ya, I didn’t used to like sunflowers. I planted them because Moo wanted them and I wanted the pollinators. Now I effing love sunflowers, because Ally Bean, you cannot snarl at them. They are relentlessly cheerful! They are the happiest flower ever.
    Mine will be out toward the end of August. I’m willing to wait. Every year. They are one of the few happy things when it’s unbearably hot outside.
    😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, I’m learning to embrace the gardening mellow, to let it all ride and enjoy it in the process. At first I took this behavior as a sign that I was getting old, but now I’m starting to think about it in light of being a nurturing Earth Mother.

      Your sunflower plan sounds like a good one. I’ve tried to grow them from seed, but without much luck. That’s why I went for this little sunflower [that looks like a black-eyed susan but maybe isn’t]. You’ll post photos of your “real” sunflowers in late August, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You can be Earth Mother. Mmhm.
        It’s kind of like how things are in life, otherwise. Especially people. Plants are like people. They kinda do what they want and await our response. Control in a garden is a minimal illusion. Mellowing is WISE.
        Also, kind of like aging. You gotta let go and consider the final result, not necessarily the process along the way.
        I will share the sunflowers when they’re all ready 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Control in a garden is a minimal illusion. The truth– that I’ve forgotten along the way! For the last few years I’ve been into making this house have curb appeal, so this little sunflower was/is supposed to be my last quirky touch. A way to show some individuality here on a suburban street. And the flower did, just not in the way that I wanted it to.

          HOWEVER, I can be wise about this plant that is nothing, if not bright. Somehow I feel like this whole post should be filed under: The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Women.

          Like

  11. Maybe you have just realized that sometimes it’s better to take things as they are rather than insist that they conform to your expectations. I think it’s a healthier and less stressful way to approach life in general, but certainly your garden. Is this part of your “Let’s try to do things differently” phase?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janis, you’re a wise woman! Gardening is one of those areas in my life where I’ve always had EXPECTATIONS. And lately, say the last year or so, I’m beginning to realize that, to use your words, “it’s better to take things as they are rather than insist that they conform to your expectations.”

      [Oddly enough when it comes to people I do exactly what you say, but when it comes to objects I FEEL like I SHOULD be able to CONTROL them.]

      I hadn’t thought about it, but yes… this is part of my ‘let’s do things differently’ phase.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t pull out flowers that are alive and still blooming, even if the foliage is bedraggled. It looks much more like a yellow daisy than a sunflower, but it is cheery and trying its best. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, I’m a cruel gardener, I guess. Or at least I used to be! I’ll pull out any plant that does not please me, but this little sunflower, if it is that, is so pretty that I’m letting it stay where it is. It’s a whole new day for Ally Bean the Gardener, nice and nurturing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, yes, you’re right. There’s a message here from this little flower. You’ve summed up what I need to learn from this flower: “smile chill be mellow and yellow.” Am doing my best to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, my attitude toward gardening seems to be changing. I still like it, just a little less of it! That might be the real message from this little sunflower incident.

      Like

Cool kids leave comments. Be a cool kid.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.