This was simply a challenging week for me… the loss of a dear soul… the difficult tasks innate in being someone’s boss… so I went back a few weeks in my photo archives to present to you some wonderful smiling faces!
Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are native to the Americas and grown for their seeds, oil and leaves (the leaves are used as feed for livestock). Until now I had always thought they were heliotropic – that their flower heads would track the sun across the sky during the day… Apparently this is only partly true. The immature buds do this, but eventually the head stops in one place and continues to grow in a stationary position facing East.
The sunflower was first domesticated in the Americas and eventually introduced to Europe by the Spanish. This flower has been thought to symbolize many things, by many people over the ages – the sun, the solar deity of the Aztecs and Incas, the Vegan Society, the aesthetic movement in the late 19th century… clearly these faces resonate with humans!
Spend a little time with these flowers and you may think there is nothing wrong with the bee population in the northeastern US. These sunflowers were loaded with bees busy pollinating every flower… And ignoring every photographer!
Some of the lore surrounding sunflowers is interesting… If you want to know the truth about something sleep with a sunflower under your bed and the truth will be revealed… to protect against smallpox wear a bag with sunflower seeds around your neck… Most revealing for me – sunflowers help relieve sadness, attract joy and lift the spirits!
This lovely Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) growing wild across the road from the sunflowers held it’s own magic for me. This plant made the opposite journey of the sunflower – it was introduced into the Americas from Europe and Asia. Not as showy and loud as the sunflower, this plant has a calming effect on the senses!