Every summer I grow sunflowers; started them years ago from seed, and now every year they reseed and pop up all over the backyard. Sometimes the seed falls over the fence, and there are baby sunflowers growing along the alleyway. Springtime brings the Big Transplant where I gather all the frail little plants and congregate them into one area. I just can’t bring myself to throw any of them away or let them be trampled by alley traffic. On the day of the Big Transplant the little sunflower seedlings always fall over, as if touching their toes, looking forlorn and heartbroken.
It doesn’t take too long for them to perk up and start growing stronger; some growing ten feet tall and others barely reaching the three-foot mark. And every summer I take pictures of them: my sunflower children, my Sunflower House, my sunflower sanctuary.
My photography skills are by no means something to brag about, but every now and then, after furiously clicking away on my camera, I get a decent shot, a salvageable photo. The photo of the butterfly on the sunflower at the top of the page is one of mine.
Making the Sunflower House is almost a tradition now, starting back ten years ago or more, when Maddy (my gorgeous teenage niece) was only four or five. It stood empty many years until the greats and the grands started coming along. Now I have children hiding again among the tall, leafy plants; dragging their tiny children chairs inside, checking the birds’ houses to see if anybird’s home, coming out all itchy and needing washed off with the water hose.
Maddy liked to hide in it; Jack and Sam did, too, as did the kids from church. Kate was into decorating the House this past summer, hanging little chimes from the leaves (her doorbell) , setting tables around (that was a tight squeeze; it’s small), and hiding her treasures from the “farm” (a story for later).
They just make me smile: sunflowers and children.