I’ve been digging up self-seeded sunflowers from the veg patch and ‘relocating’ them to more convenient parts of the garden, places where they can grow without the risk of being pulled up through overly enthusiastic weeding.
Every year I grow lots of sunflowers – I love the range of yellows, oranges and dark chocolaty reds that are available now. They’re great flowers for late summer and can be cut to make an impressive bunch of flowers, the bees love them and, possibly best of all, they produce edible seeds. It’s the seeds that the birds love too, each year they strip them from the flower heads as soon as they start to ripen. So I’ve given up on the idea of collecting any seeds to use in the kitchen, this year I’ll just accept that the sunflowers I’m growing are for the beautiful flowers, and for home grown bird food.
To add to the display provided by the seeds transplanted from the veg patch, I’m sowing some extras. My favourite varieties at the moment are the pale yellow ‘Valentine’, ‘Earthwalker’ which come in a range of orange shades, and the reds of ‘Velvet Queen’.
I don’t know that growing bird seed at home will save any money on feeding the garden birds, especially given the appetites that our local birds have. But if I can enjoy the flowers through the summer, and help the bees out by providing a bit more nectar and pollen before the birds get to benefit, it can’t be a bad thing can it?