The (Un)Secrets of a 15-Foot Sunflower



The only thing special about my sunflower is the way it turned out. Otherwise, this is an ordinary garden tale. There are no secrets to reveal, no pro tips, no insider information available to those who will invest a lot of money on miracle amendments, dig holes reaching toward the earth's core, or run themselves ragged with sprays and incantations trying to produce a similar result. 

My sunflower is an altogether ordinary sunflower. It just somehow shot up toward the sky, and then kept on going, like Jack's famous beanstalk. Wow. That's all I can say.

The seeds came from a display near the cash register at my local chain grocery store. I planted a bunch of them, hither and thither. About a dozen sprouted, but only one survived. Oddly, it was the sprout in a wee, shallow plot, hard up on the west side of our house near downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, against the unforgiving concrete foundation of our house.

It was kind of a spindly, pathetic specimen, in danger of being crowded out early on by a cherry tomato plant and a zucchini. I gave some thought to yanking it out to give the edible plants more space.

Since this wee bed is on the west side of the house, sunlight comes only after noon, and then get filtered by tall trees in the late afternoon. Not a promising set up. But all the same, early in July the Mighty Forces of Something Or Other took hold and the sunflower took off for the sky.

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