First Day of Winter


In Australia we switch seasons on the first day of the month rather than the more traditional solstice/equinox so today is the first day of winter. Not exactly a day when I’d expect to enjoy sunflowers. Anyway, I have them. 3 in fact.

I must have planted 40 seeds from 3 different sources: 1) a handful I picked up under a massive sunflower in a local garden centre, 2) the same seed pack that I used to plant my earlier crop and 3) seeds harvested from my earlier crop.

I planted them in three rows and it seems to me that of the 3 plants that came up, 2 are from the seed pack and 1 from those I harvested in my earlier crop. I could be wrong as both animals and my neighbour dug in this bed after planting (my neighbour was grinding out a root from the tree he chopped on his side of the fence).


What’s interesting about this is that one of my plants looks nothing like anything I planted. It’s a multi-headed sunflower with lots of small flowers all along the stem – nothing I planted looked like that. From what I can gather this could mean my original seeds were F1 (hybrids that only last a generation then revert back to their grandparents) or could be a result of cross-pollination (something sunflowers are known for). I’m guessing it is the F1 issue for no reason other than intuition. I’m not complaining, it is an interesting plant. I’m dying to see if any of the flowers along the stem open. Surely they’ll just be tiny if they do.

Another difference between these plants and what I expected to see is their trunks are about 4 times as thick as and 50% taller than my first planting. I’m going to put that down to weather. Sunflowers may like sunshine but I bet they also like water.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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4 Responses to First Day of Winter

  1. Imogheena says:

    Told you I have lots of inconsequential comments to make on your blog 😛

    This post’s inconsequential comment is more along the lines of “Oooooh how KEWL!!!” about the sunflower being so different to what you planted. Definitely adding in a request for photos if/when they open. And I wonder if there would be edible seeds too?

    • I stared at the baby flower buds this morning and I think they are getting bigger. Time will tell. As for eating… I’m not too hopeful. My first batch was certainly edible for the birds but I have to admit that the kernals are kind of small and hardly worth the effort of shelling (I’m sooo lazy) so I’ve kept what the birds didn’t eat as seed stock. I may just need them all since I’m only getting maybe 10% (maybe less) of what I plant from harvested seeds reaching maturity.

  2. Pingback: Multi-headed sunflowers | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

  3. Pingback: Winter 2013 | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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