Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunflower #2

Last year's sunflowers were a big success and much admired by passers by. In fact so admired by one individual that they felt the need to take one home with them. All part and parcel for anything within grasping range of a public footpath I suppose, but still disappointing.

This year we'd planned to plant more, but with only six out of ten seeds germinating, then two plants uprooted when small, we ended up with four once again. This was all right, because thanks to more careful soil preparation this year, they got kind of huge.

It also helped that they were planted a bit earlier and the soil in that part of the garden has been raised up by 20cm or so, meaning they're less shaded by the wall as seedlings. With the soil level being about 50cm above the footpath, they tower over passing pedestrians.

 Sadly, there's still someone in our neighbourhood who doesn't know how to share. This year it was sunflower #2 that was brutally beheaded sometime between 7:30am and 5:30pm yesterday.

It's obviously not the work of the big white bat, ratties or especially hungry caterpillars, but rather something with two hands, opposable thumbs and significant psychological problems. After a few seconds of disbelief followed by a minute or so of anger, I resolved to put that aside, have a good think about the situation and not let it ruin my day. It was after all the beginning of my holidays.

Today I'm feeling better. You see there are a few lessons I've learnt about growing things: the need for patience, persistence, close observation and making adjustments when required. Adaptability in other words. And having some humanoid rip off sunflowers is no different to suffering damage from under-watering, over-watering, too little sun, too much sun, the wrong soil, nematodes, fungus or fruit fly. It's just another of those unavoidable factors in need of consideration when choosing what, when and where to plant.

Staring down the street at oncoming pedestrians.
Sadly, there are no (legal) organic remedies for large mammalian garden pests. And my initial thoughts of attaching razor wire or electrodes to the stems would probably spoil the sunflowers' cheerful appearance.

So for now I'll have to be content to enjoy them while they last and plan to grow them somewhere else, out of arms reach, next year. Either that or install a Buddha statue with motion-tracking head and laser beam eyes.

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