The hard-Working Beauty of Sunflowers

by Christine Sine
Beans climbing on sunflowers

Beans climbing on sunflowers

Like most of my garden friends I love sunflowers, but I must confess I usually only plant them so that the beans have something to climb on when they grow beyond their bamboo teepees and the squirrels have something to eat at the end of summer. We love to watch them scampering up the tall stalks to hang upside down on the huge flower heads.

I found this article in the Hard Working Beauty of Sunflowers recently that I thought was well worth a read.

The statement: “They’re a really iconic way to make people notice that you’re trying to make a change in the community,” really caught my imagination. I also found it very interesting that sunflowers are probably the second-oldest domesticated seed crop in eastern North America. (squash is the oldest). Evidently they originated in Mexico at least as far back as 2600 BC.

Another interesting fact I came across is that sunflower oil became popular in Europe in the 18th century, particularly with members of the Russian Orthodox Church, because sunflower oil was one of the few oils that was not prohibited during Lent.

I was also impressed to hear that recent research suggests sunflowers can pull heavy metal contaminants from polluted soil. They were used after the Chernobyl disaster, and more recently in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Koyu Abe, chief monk at the Buddhist Joenji temple has planted 200,000 flowers at the temple and distributed many more seeds. Read the story here

Then I came across this beautiful poem

Aztec Flower Song (anonymous, pre-Columbian)

Be indomitable, Oh my heart!
Love only the sunflower;
It is the flower of the Giver-of-Life!
What can my heart do?
Have we come, have we sojourned here on earth in vain?
As the flowers wither, I shall go.
Will there be nothing of my glory ever?
Will there be nothing of my fame on earth?
At most songs, at most flowers,
What can my heart do?
Have we come, have we sojourned on earth in vain?

So next time you see a sunflower in a bouquet of flowers or smiling over your neighbour’s fence remember that this is one of God’s long beloved flower and offer a prayer of thanks.

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1 comment

Shelly June 4, 2012 - 2:31 pm

I nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award too!
Thank you for BEING!

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