Remembering Michael: A Sunflower Garden Journal
Love Through A Child's Heart Files
Sunflowers have long been known for their colossal height, vibrant, circular blooms and tasty, nutritional seed treats. Nowhere have these majestic annuals become more symbolic than amidst the Michael Jackson fan community.
Greetings MJ Fans....
Michael's fans were enthusiastic in their efforts to provide sunflowers after reading Lisa Marie's message. A donation of over 1500 sunflowers were donated byTheSunflowerGuy.com, a California florist and grower. Several Facebook groups were formed, like One Rose for Michael, to ensure Michael would always be showered with his favorite flowers from his fans.
A Sunflower Garden Journal
In learning the history of the Sunflower, you will find they grew wild in their native land of North and South America. The Aztec Indians ate sunflower seeds for additional fat, since the fish and wild animals they hunted provided very little fat. They built great temples to the Sun, and their priestesses wore crowns made out of Sunflowers. In the early 1500s, the Spanish explorers collected the sunflower seeds and took them back to Europe to grow. Around the 1820s, Russians started farming sunflowers to make oil. Over the years, breeding these flowers has contributed to various types of sunflowers, growing to heights between 1.5 and 3.5 m (5–12 ft).They require full sunlight and moist, well drained soil.
Sunflowers are a happy gift from Mother Earth,
April 3, 2011: Paris Jackson's 13th Birthday. We are planting the Sunflowers in an L shape for Love around our garden. Temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit daily.
April 24, 2011: Our first photos were taken today. The sunflowers started to sprout, measuring approximately 2 inches in height.
April 30, 2011: Sprouts begin to measure between 2 to 4 inches. Temperatures around 77°F daily.
May 12, 2011: These photos were taken at night to show how the sunflower leaves fold, as if they were saying good night to the world until the dawn of a new day. Temperatures at 80°F daily.
May 15, 2011: The sunflowers are measuring up to 12 inches tall! Temperatures averaging 75°F.
May 21, 2011: Measuring 15-19 inches tall, noticing a few small black ants attached to the undersides of the leaves. The Temperatures are between 80-90°F daily.
May 23, 2011: I made a trip to the public library and nursery to find out more about these little creatures. I learned that ants like the dew inside the stem. I opted to go the organic route to oust the ants into a different direction, using clover oil mixed with water, spraying each plant. I did detour some of them, but as you read on, you will see what happens next.
May 25, 2011: Today I traveled back to the library to find books about sunflowers. In the children's section, I found a couple of children's books that may interest some of the younger children. You may click on the sunflower book photos above to learn more information about these books.
May 26, 2011: Temperatures have held around 80-90°F daily. The ant invasion occurred today. I found that clover oil in a spray bottle was the safest way to detour our little earthly friends. Learn more about insects that like to feast and make their homes among the sunflowers.
May 28, 2011: 85 Sunflowers have grown, measuring between 22-28 inches tall. (around 2 feet tall) Temperature is 90°F daily.
Today, we used Miracle Gro Garden Feeder to help the plants after the recent storms. We purchase our Miracle Gro from a local hardware and gardening store for $10.49 USD. I did some research to find where you may purchase your Miracle Gro, ranging in price from $10.00 to $15.00 USD from Amazon.com. You may also want to check with www.ebay.com for cheaper prices on shipping.
Sunflowers after applying Miracle Gro. The Miracle Gro website has a kids page with fun facts, how-to gardening activities and special offers for parents. Click here for more info.
As mentioned above, the Sunflowers were planted in an L shape for Love around our Garden. I stood at the point of the garden to take these photos for you.
June 9, 2011: In checking out the garden this morning, we realized one sunflower needed special attention. Calling our local nursery for help, we learned sunflowers need not only moist, well drained soil but, full sunlight all day. While analyzing the situation, we noticed that half of the garden was shaded in the late afternoon, only leaving one row of sunflowers in full sunlight. The sunflowers above are the ones that have shade in the late afternoons, measuring between 24 inches to 3 feet. You will notice in the photo below, the stems are turning a light yellow in color. Temperatures between 90-98°F daily.
The Remedy: You may want to invest in a Tripod Watering System like the one shown above. The sunflowers are watered for 2 hours each day in the early mornings by our daughters. If you are a busy family, you may want to look into buying a Garden Hose Digital Water Timer.
June 18, 2011: Tomorrow I leave for Los Angeles, California to be with other members of the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. I can't wait to see everyone! But first, I wanted to snap a couple of photos for you of the sunflower garden. They are growing at a fast rate, measuring 7 to 8 feet! No blooms yet. But, I am praying we will see the first blooms, either Friday June 24 or Saturday June 25 for Michael. I've left detailed instructions for my daughters to contact me and send photos once they bloom.
As you can see above, the sunflowers are living up to their name,
This is a close up photo of the center of the stalk.
Tempatures are currently holding around 95-98°F, with a heat index of 105-108°F daily. It is very humid during the day in the central USA. The ants are no longer a major problem, thanks to the clover oil spray. But, there are still several insects visiting from time to time.
June 25, 2011: Disappointment consumed me for a moment today after recieving a call from my daughter, the sunflowers have not yet bloomed. But, those feelings were soon quenched by a memory from earlier in the week. A precious sunflower with a butterfly perched so gentle above it, had captured my attention near the door of Holly Terrace. Butterflies are known for their elaborate colors that capture the eyes and ensnare the senses with their symbolic meaning of new beginnings...
The journey to Forest Lawn this year has given birth to a newness inside my soul, thanks to Michael and the butterflies. You may ask, "Why Butterflies?" Butterflies remind me of all the friends I have meet along my journey. The butterflies, spread love from one flower to another. If you look close enough you can see how that love is shared and watch it grow into a meadow of love amongst the sunflowers.
June 26, 2011: While traveling home tonight, I couldn't help but to think of the butterflies that touched my life this week. As the plane landed and came to a halt, I quickly unfastened my seat belt to be one of the first to exit the plane. While waiting for other passengers to get their luggage, my cell phone started to buzz frantically with an image of a single sunflower upon its screen. The messages were from my husband, the sunflower garden had produced one bloom this afternoon! A burst of excitement I could not contain, this over-flowing joy had to be shared with my friends. Due to all the text messages that were sent out, I'm sure there were extra sparkles in the twilight sky tonight.
This was Michael welcoming us all home, after a week that is certain to be cherished forever within our hearts.
July 7, 2011: Last Entry in our Remembering Michael: A Sunflower Journal. Temperatures have stayed relatively normal for this time of the year. It's still very humid with light winds in the afternoon to cool down the hot steamy days.
These photos show how the sunflower heads are blooming.
Just for Laughs: These sunflower heads remind me of Morticia Addams carnivorous plant Cleopatra, from the 1960's TV show, The Addams Family.
Morticia Addams feeding Cleopatra
In all fairness, many of these blooms will become large and heavy, as if bowing down to mother earth thanking her for their nourishment. Note* You can always reinforce the stalks if the sunflowers get too top-heavy.
Some little busy-bee visitors.
The past three months have flown by quickly. Soon school will take a front seat and the laughter of children will be seen on the playgrounds again. The summer will give way to the brown, yellow and orange colors of Fall. Then the sunflowers in our garden will soon be ready to harvest. Here is a link to learn more about how to harvest sunflowers.
Finding Love Through A Child's Heart,
- Heather, Director of Children's Awareness
© Heather Nutt, 2011, 2012 Revised. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Permission from Author(s).
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