I declare the magnificent sunflower Summer's official flower. These huge flower cluster beauties are growing abundantly in our vegetable garden. The bees were happily pollinating among the large heads, not disturbed by my presence at all. The stunning, vibrant yellow pedals make them a favorite for arrangements and flowerbeds alike.
Sunflower seeds make an excellent snack for humans, and also used as bird food. Sunflowers are made into peanut butter, or sunbutter. Sunflower oil is used for cooking, made into magarine, and used to make biodiesel. Some sunflowers are even higher in monounsaturated (healthy) fats than the ever popular olive oil.
I counted 18 flowers growing from one sunflower plant in our garden above.
I can't help but smile when I look upon the cheery petals of a sunflower. Artist Vicent van Gogh made the sunflower popular in his many sunflower paintings. I see sunflowers sold in several stores, and we have them growing here free every year. The seeds fall off naturally and are tilled for the next summer season. Amusing to watch the birds eat from the seed clusters, pecking in all kinds of positions. This year I plan to dry the seeds to make for snacks, and save a batch for bird food in the winter.