Friday, September 16, 2016

Maximilian's sunflower







Helianthus maximiliani 'Santa Fe'

Maximilian's sunflower, sometimes known as New Mexico sunflower, grows throughout my local area. It's a native prairie species that can grow in sandy soil with very little water. You can see it almost everywhere. People plant it as a perennial and it can also seed itself. Range areas are dense with it, surviving wind, hail and heavy rain until the local livestock come along. I know of a large cluster of New Mexico sunflowers growing lushly on the edge of a golf course, untended in a dry gravel patch. Like most things that grow here, they don't mind harsh conditions. If anything, they seem to prefer them.

Currently, I have a large bunch of New Mexico sunflowers in my house. My mother-in-law grew them in her backyard. She lives a few blocks away from us during the summer months and does a fair amount of gardening while she's here. She planted these flowers a few summers ago, to add some color and coverage at the back garden wall, a long stretch of gray cinder block. The sunflowers are a perfect touch there, growing as much as six feet tall and expanding width-wise a little bit every year. For most of the summer, the plant bears only slender, willow-like leaves as the flowers begin to bud. By mid-September, they bloom up and down the long stalks in profusion. My mother-in-law cuts armfuls of these stalks to display in the house, giving me some as well. 

I use my tallest vase for them. It's pink and doesn't really go with the flowers. They shed pollen absolutely everywhere (and it's the staining kind of pollen too). I don't typically gravitate toward yellow flowers to begin with. But I'm not complaining, not really. In spite of the mess, and the almost comical feat of displaying them, they're most welcome here. They're fresh and cheerful. They were grown by someone I love. They only happen once a year and they are quintessentially of this place, flowering in brief, exquisite early autumn: cold-morning-hot-afternoon time, chile-smoke time, skyful-of-balloons time.

27 comments:

  1. We have a sunflower in California called the Delta Sunflower, which is like yours in that it needs little water. It blooms all summer long along the dry roadways all over the Central Valley, and my landscaper has it growing and spreading on her property. She is going to give me plants next spring, and I am very excited about it. They don't have the same form as yours - I think they are too branching to make good cut flowers - but they will give me blooms through the season and not require much attention.

    I also don't naturally care for yellow flowers, but if I did... I see that the Maximilian grows here, too! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. those are so beautiful! I did not know of them! thank you!

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  3. What a beautiful looking flower. To save on some of the mess with the pollen, try using a paper table cloth under them so it can just be thrown away once the flowers are finished, it will certainly save some of the mess. Take care.

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  4. Sunflowers of any variety are just so, well, sunny. Guaranteed to cheer up a room or a person :) Hope you have a great week no,
    Jillxo

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  5. They're really lovely. I like their height and structural shape. I often buy gladioli at this time of year and love how the spiky green leaves hold their shape. How cool that this grows wild in your part of the world. X

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  6. A fantastic splash of colour, and lovely that they're at their peak right now as the days are getting shorter. Have a good weekend Jennifer. CJ xx

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  7. I've never heard of them before but they're such cheery flowers, just right for this time of year when the days are getting shorter, nice to have a bit of sunshine indoors.

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  8. Sunflowers are perfect for brightening up a room, and these are beautiful. Enjoy your weekend x

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  9. The flowers are so pretty! Make any day brighter ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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  10. Perfect Autumn sunflowers Jennifer, which suit the blue skies and New Mexico climate beautifully.

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  11. They're beautiful - and I think the pink vase looks just fine! You wrote about them so eloquently, too.

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  12. Your photos are lovely, Jennifer. I especially enjoy seeing you in the mirror of the second photo :)
    We are having a nourishing steady rain here today which makes seeing your New Mexico Sunflowers especially cheery. Happy Weekend to you and yours! xxxx

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  13. Those are wonderful and cheery flowers.. how nice to get them as a gift. I've been desiring a bouquet of sunflowers here.. it's raining steady today which it hasn't done for a long time. I'm glad to have a day of rest as I've been doing a lot of adventuring lately. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. They look perfect in their pink vase! :o)

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  15. Beautiful photos Jennifer I love sunflowers. :) xx

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  16. These are such happy flowers! They do look a little difficult to contain. How nice that your MIL shares them with you. I think I would have to cover up a cinder brick wall in my yard too. The sunflower (and I only had one) that grew in my garden this year grew to the size of a dinner plate. And then the chipmunk sat up there one sunny day and ate every single seed.
    Happy Sunday!
    Wendy

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  17. Gorgeous sunflowers Jennifer. Most of ours have died or been harvested for seeds. It seems to be an early fall up here in the northwest. The trees and bushes are turning already, early to be sure. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your sunflowers and telling us all about them.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  18. They are gorgeous my friend, I wonder if they would grow in Florida, probably get all moldy in all of our rain.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  19. So cheerful! I have a variety of daisy out at the moment called September Daisy which is mauve purple with a yellow centre and they are very welcome at this time of year when most other flowers are fading. Jo x

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  20. Wonderfully delicate photos Jennifer. And lovely to have this splash of warmth and beauty indoors to mark the changing of the seasons. I love how you describe your early autumn. Sam x

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  21. they look lovely.. i very rarely have fresh flowers in the house.. though if it was up to me (didn't have to buy them and were growing in my backyard) i'd have them in every corner.

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  22. Yellow isn't one of my favourite colours either, but they look so striking in the vase, really beautiful xx

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  23. Oh beautiful. Just been harvesting our sunflowers for the winter today, so appreciating your photos of yellow. Love the yellow flowers in the garden. No chance in the house, as my husband sneezes even if I walk a bloom through the house.

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  24. They are gorgeous. I do love a flower than can survive harsh conditions. I remember seeing wild sunflowers all over Colorado last summer. So beautiful!

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  25. These are lovely, shame about the pollen! But they do look very bright and cheerful x

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