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Ben loved the garden! (He took after his mom). He grew many kinds of flowers and vegetables too. He was fascinated by the sunflower and grew different varieties some so large they had to be staked. That's our flower of choice for his grave site now and that's the flower I'll start with here. I save all the sunflowers placed on his grave and dry them for the seed. When he was at Burwood Cemetary I actually planted one there besides here in the yard to take there.
Helianthus, the botanical name for sunflower is actually an herb native of the western hemisphere blooming in late summer, early autumn. Although now, many varieties are ready in late spring, early summer. No special care is needed for the sunflower, any ground or exposure suits them.
The common sun flower grown in gardens is the hellianthus annuus, growing to 12 ft with heads one foot or more across.
About 3 million acres of sunflowers that are grown each year in the U.S., up to 90% are the oilseed type. A significant fraction of the oilseed harvest goes for birdseed production, but most of the seeds are processed into vegetable oil. Of the seeds processed for oil, about equal thirds are dehulled, partially dehulled, or left with hulls on for processing. When hulls are removed, they become a very low value byproduct, most often burned for fuel.
There are 67 species of sunflowers, growing in the USA, Europe, Japan, and Russia. The Guinness World Record for the tallest sunflower is 25' 5 1/2" (7.76 m), grown in the Netherlands. The largest diameter head was grown in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and was 32 1/4" (82 cm) across.
The mums that I take out to Ben, I bring back home and cut the dead blooms, give them tender loving care until they start blooming again. At this time I cut them again for rooting in perlite. Half of the greenhouse is full of chrysathemums! Chrysanthemums are known to some to be funeral flowers but that's not why I take them to Ben. I had many varieties of them that grew each year as a collection on the ranch. I got started collecting them when my friend, Marguarette took me to the mum farm not far from us. She also bought me my first peony. These were part of the many collections Ben and I took care of together.
Pinch chrysanthemums back to 6 inches every month through July.
The oldest flower, called Archaefructus sinensis or "ancient fruit from China", is of a species never before seen, says David Dilcher, of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida. "It is like the mother of all flowering plants".
Researchers at the University of Florida, US, say the species could be the predecessor of all flowering plants. They say it probably grew in shallow lakes shared by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. It was discovered in a slab of stone in north-east China and the plant is thought to have lived at least 125 million years ago. It's felt the flower may be related to our modern water lily.
Coleus was another of Ben's favorites. A beautiful flower is actually a herb, a member of the mint family. He would start them from seed. Many seed packets say they're an annual but a tender perennial. So, you can start them from cuttings too at any time of the year. Ben would bring them in the house for the winter.
They can be grown in a window garden, porch boxes, or used in the garden bed. Make sure you keep them pinched, otherwise, they start looking ugly.
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