Friday, September 1, 2017

We're All Ears :: September Challenge :: Here Comes the Sun{flower}!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ― Helen Keller
There is something so regal about the sunflower. They are a natural symbol of happiness, optimism and light. They can't help it - it is in their name! Sunflowers can be one of the biggest blooms (the Mammoth Sunflower variety has enormous blooms up to 1 feet across!), standing taller than most (the tallest ever recorded was in Germany, 2014 at 30 feet, 1 inch!), but it also has the humble, folksy feeling about it.

There is a field just east of where I live on the edge of a growing retail shopping area that is filled with sunflowers. I witnessed so many of my local friends on Facebook posting pictures and selfies from the edge of this field, and I thought, "I've got to get over there to see this!" Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity, because today all the blooms were bowing their heads in raggedy array.

That just makes me more determined than ever to visit next year! (I do hope the farm will still plant them!)

Since I couldn't take a picture myself I found some beautiful images that others have captured, to celebrate this most stately of flowers.

Photo credit :: via Unsplash :: Becca Romine :: Ciprian Lipenschi :: Nick Nice :: Thomas Smith :: 

10 Fun Facts about Sunflowers

1. "Helianthus" is the correct scientific name of the Sunflower, helia = sun and anthus = flower.
2. Sunflowers are native to the Americas, being cultivated as far back as 3000 BCE. They were used for food, medicine, dye and oil. They were brought back to Europe around 1500 by the Spanish conquistadors.
3. Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants and on average group to be 8-12 feet within six months.
4. True to their name, sunflowers exhibit a behavior called heliotropism. In the morning the blooms and young buds will face east and track the sun as the earth moves during the day. Once their heads get heavier during the height of their bloom and seed production, the stems start to stiffen and they will generally remain facing toward the east and the rising sun.
5. Each sunflower head is actually made of thousands of tiny flowers. The petals on the outside are called ray florets and do not reproduce. In the center, the disk florets have both male and female sex organs and each produce a seed which is self-pollinated, blown by the wind or even transported by insects.
6. There is an intricate spiral patterning in the head of the sunflower that almost always follows the Fibonacci sequence. Each floret is oriented towards the next by the golden angle of 137.5° which produces a pattern of interconnecting spirals. The number of left and right spirals are consecutive Fibonacci numbers. Normally there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other. Very large sunflowers can have 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.
7. Sunflowers need full sun and rich, well-drained soil to reach their full height. They are unique in that they remove toxins from contaminated soil such as arsenic, lead and uranium. Because of this, they have been used to clean up after some of the world's largest environmental disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.
8. Not all sunflowers are yellow. Some are striped and some have different interior shades. They come in more than 60 varieties around the world.
9. All the seeds gone on your bloom? Use the sunflower head as a natural disposable scrubbing tool!
10. A folk legend says that if you sleep with a sunflower under your pillow, you will become wise.

Hey peeps! 
I just discovered that friend of the blog, Sarajo Wentling, and I are on a hive mind...her monthly "Honey Do Challenge" is also sunflowers! So if you are interested in participating in her fun challenge as well as We're All Ears, I would highly recommend it! Make your earrings for this We're All Ears on September 15 and then keep going to make a complete set for her reveal on Septemeber 25!
Check it out at Sarajo's Honey Do List September. 

Show off your sunny creations at the reveal of the September We're All Ears Challenge right here on September 15th!