Torch Sunflower

As autumn begins to settle into the valley and early morning mist rise from the Susquehanna I cannot help but admire the brilliant red leaves on the blueberry bushes and the soft tones of the sugar maple looming nearby.  The naked frame of the butternut tree whose thin leaves were scattered by last week’s storm stands a quiet watch as black cap chickadee periodically make calculated raids on the giant skeletons of the sunflowers in the garden.
As the pageantry of fall displays vibrant colors across the landscape like a fading peacock fan there is one flower still standing in our garden.  The torch sunflower, also known as the Mexican sunflower, has been providing flowers for bouquets for months now.
The plant stands about six feet tall and bushes out to display loud orange flowers that measure 2-3” across. The fuzzy yellow centers provide plenty of pollen for bees, especially late in the season when options are low.
I ordered the seeds for this annual from the Seed Savers Exchange. The seeds are actually very easy to save from this particular flower but I must warn you they are similar to a burdock and a little painful to work with until you get your technique down.
If you are looking for something new in the garden I would recommend giving these easy to grow flowers a try.  

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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