Sunflowers, Sunshine, Optimism

As we head into the warmer months, I have visions of sunflowers dancing in the sunshine…and I smile.

Sunflowers are amazing. In addition to their beauty, their seeds are a healthy snack or provide a healthy cooking oil. According to “Sunflower seeds are excellent sources of several nutrients — including vitamin E and selenium — and beneficial plant compounds that can help prevent chronic diseases.” And, sunflower oil is as a healthy cooking oil; lists it among the top 5 healthy cooking oils.

[ I just recently learned that the yellow sunflower is a symbol of peace, happiness and optimism…and the national flower of Ukraine. Billboards in my community are sharing the sunflower image in support of those battling in Ukraine. We should all share this image in support of our brothers and sisters, not only in Ukraine, but around the world.]

Although I have always been drawn to sunflowers, it wasn’t until a trip to Italy’s Tuscan area that I fell in love; sorry, couldn’t find my Italy pictures. I had never seen fields of sunflowers before. The sight was overwhelming to me. Since that trip over 10 years ago, I have been planting sunflowers as well as enjoying their own ability to re-seed. For the most part, I use the seeds for my bird population, even though they are the kind of seed that can be consumed for snacks, trail mix, salad toppings, etc.

Should you decide to brighten up your garden with sunflowers, realize that there are many types to choose from – giants to dwarf size and a variety of colors. A good place to begin your research is on Jenn Stark’s website – You can find the types, how to grow and how to harvest the seeds on this one site.

Does a sunflower have to be yellow?

Wishing you a garden of smiles and world of peace, happiness and optimism…

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