In a Vase on Monday: Sunflowers Last Call

My sunflowers are going fast.  Staying true to their DNA, sunflowers grow from seed to seed in about 90 days. I planted mine in mid-May so I’m on borrowed time.

The shortest of the sunflowers bloomed the longest, making them the perfect flower for today’s In a Vase on Monday. Cathy at Rambling in the Garden features flowers and a prop in a vase each Monday year round. Impressive! She encourages others to participate as well. Come join Words and Herbs and Creating my own Garden in the Hesperides, and others. It’s fun.

sunflowers in a vase on monday

Sunflowers in a vase on Monday

Easy Arranger

Check out my new gadget. It’s called an Easy Arranger™. It’s a wire form in the shape of a flower, made in China, assembled in the United States, sold in Canada and now holding up sunflowers harvested in San Jose. My easy arranger should consider applying for a frequent flyer card. I bought two of them in the beautiful gift shop at Butchart Gardens on holiday last month. The malleable form molds over the top of your vase lending support to cut flowers. Pretty nifty, eh?

easy arranger collage

Easy arranger in action

Saving Seeds

I’ve been gathering seeds from each of the seed heads so I’ll have plenty to plant next year. I’m going to package a few and give them away at Christmas as well. I wish I could share with my readers around the world, but shipping seeds outside of the US is a no-no.

As an aside, so is shipping millipedes, but apparently a crate marked ‘toys’ arrived in San Francisco this week with foot-long millipedes illegally shipped from Germany. No thanks!

sunflower seeds and seed heads

Assorted sunflower seeds and seed heads

squirrel eating sunflowers

Making quick work of delicious sunflower seeds

The Long View

The photo below is the long view, taken from my back door looking out on the space where we read. Although close shots are generally more interesting, I find that I’m often curious about the scenery just out of view.

garden long view

My Garden: The Long View Dear Reader, I wish you were here! This is the view outside my back door. You take two steps down and you land on this patio. Just beyond is our browning grass, born from necessity in our continued drought. The white flowering plant is an Anemone. They’re usually more prolific, but again, the drought. The lovely window painting is at eye level when you’re seated, painted by the talented Whitney Pintello. I wish you could come join me for a cold drink, a hot tea and a chat. Cheers, Alys

Does this interest you, too?

I’m trying to mix it up a little at Gardening Nirvana, hoping to add some zest to the mix. Does the idea of the long view interest you or are you shrugging your shoulders and wondering “what is she thinking?”

Please leave me a comment, below, or take the quick poll.

41 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Sunflowers Last Call

  1. Your sunflowers are gorgeous, Alys! And I love the long view. I can picture us sitting there with a “cuppa” (Aussie slang for tea or coffee) and having a good old natter. How wonderful! You have inspired me with your love of sunflowers. I bought a packet of seeds this morning and will plant soon. I also love the “easy arranger” and will definitely keep an eye out for one of those Down Under. A million thank-yous for the beautiful postcard from your recent holiday. The poem was beautiful and it made me feel as though I was along for the fabulous ride! xoxoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hurray for the long view *and* sitting with you for a cuppa. I adore that expression and plan to incorporate it into my vocabulary. The expression ‘natter’ is a good one, too.

      Perhaps if all of us bloggers pool our money we can buy a jet and go on a real blog hop. Wouldn’t that be fun?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the postcard. We had fun choosing and sending them and in many ways you were along for the trip. I certainly ate enough for two people. Ha!

      Dani, I’m delighted to hear you’re planting sunflowers. I’m looking forward to watching them grow from here. xoxoxoxo


  2. I love the long view – it is so welcoming and pretty and begs for company, giggles and a relaxed couple of hours with a few good friends! Close-ups are good too – sometimes it is nice to have both as it helps put things in perspective. That flower arranging thingy looks deceptively simple but I bet it does the job really well. I imagine you could bend it a bit to fit into a vase mouth if you wished? I haven’t seen such a thing here – but then I haven’t been looking either 🙂 It is almost time to start bringing fresh flowers inside again – I was just looking at my jasmine and she is full of buds. I love to have some sprigs scattered about the house in tiny containers. I am also pleased to see the squirrels and other assorted critters left you some sunflower seeds to enjoy. Is the heat beginning to abate now for you? I do hope you get some rain this coming autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I do Boomdee 🙂 I have two vines here. One at the back door which was here before me and another in the tiny courtyard that I planted and which is well along the way to covering the ugly fence. It is almost considered a weed in this country it grows so easily and prolifically! The scent is said to be the aroma of the angels – I like that!


              • Have him give me a call. I’ll impart the urgency of our visit to all continents starting with the letters Australia and New Zealand.

                Something about “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today” and “no time like the present.”

                Mr. B., Operator Alys is standing by.

                Liked by 1 person

                • LOL, he won’t say no to you Operator Alys….hehehe. I’m hoping he’ll find time to take a four week holiday before he retires. I couldn’t go all that way without him, it’s a once in a lifetime trip from northern Canada. Do you think Mike would be keen to travel there too? xoxoK


                  • It’s a huge trip, isn’t it? In fact, there are days when I wonder how I would survive that lengthy flight with all my neck and back problems, and my not-made-for-flying, legs.

                    Like you, It will probably be a once in a lifetime trip as well.

                    Mike has been twice, both on business. The first trip was grueling. He was gone for two weeks and covered both Australia and New Zealand. He took several flights across Australia, then two more flights in New Zealand. He lost his glasses and he lost his voice. BUT he loved the countries, the beauty and the people.

                    So, I sincerely want to go, but all kidding aside, I know it will take careful planning. To meet Dani, Sarah, Pauline and others would be extraordinary.


    • Hurray for the long view. It’s been unanimous, which has actually surprised me. I’m thinking of featuring a long view in several posts. I wish I had Boomdee’s skills to make them look like a postcard. I have the idea in my head, but don’t have the software or skill to execute. I will see what else is out there.

      The Easy Arranger does bend to fit and it stayed in place all week. The flowers are just now dropping petals so I took it apart.

      I’m happy to hear that your spring and summer are ahead of you.

      I don’t know why I never think to bring it sprigs of Jasmine. What a good idea. That smell…oh my goodness.

      It’s still pretty warm here and no rain in sight, but that’s no uncommon for September and even October. We may get some rain in late October. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Alys! It’s nice to see your view and I shall imagine i’m sitting out there today with you for a chat and a glass of iced tea! 😉 I love your vase of sunflowers as well as the squirrel photo, and loooove the Easy Arranger! I have tried to find it online, and they are horrifically expensive in Germany, but will keep looking. Thanks for the mention by the way. Enjoy your week! 🙂


    • Hi Cathy,

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. It seems we’re all curious to see the broader picture, the long view.

      I hope we meet one day and if it’s in one of our gardens, all the better. I’ll try to arrange squirrel entertainment in advance.

      Sorry to hear the Easy Arranger’s are so pricey in Germany. I’m thinking of buying a few here and hosting a give away. Stay tuned.


  4. Love the vase, maybe your shorter sunflower lost its growing tip and so bushed out to produce more flowers; As I’ve been picking mine all summer (well since June) they keep producing more and more blooms down the stems. I think that I disagree about close-ups being the best pictures; they are good too but it doesn’t give any idea of how a garden actually looks. I think you need both to understand what works and to understand a garden you’ll never see.


    • Christina, that is exactly what happened. I just didn’t know that was a possibility. The flowers lower down are quite different. They have an almost black backing, unlike the typical green, and they are growing in multiples directly from the main stalk. Nature amazes me every day.

      Thanks for your comments on the long view. It’s been great reading all the perspectives.


  5. Hi Alys. Maybe I’m nosey or curious but I love peering beyond the photos to see what it is like to live in different countries – although most of the time I find it all looks pretty much the same as here! I often take close up photos to hid the mess in the scene behind! I love your flower thingy. I am going to grow a cut flower garden this year so something like this will be fabulous for my amateur flower arranging! Cheers Sarah : o )


    • Curiosity moves us forward each day, so that, my friend is a wonderful thing. Nosy has negative connotations…but we’re all nosy in our own way. I think the difference is recognizing boundaries. If someone says ‘would you like to see my garden’ the answer is YES! But if not invited, and even though I want to, I would never insist.

      I’ve wanted to grow a cut flower garden for years, but with my limited space, I just tuck things in here and there. I do get nice daffodils int he spring, Cosmos and sunflowers and white Japanese anemone right about now. It keeps me satisfied.


  6. Pingback: Meeting Serendipitously | Gardening Nirvana

  7. I’m going to have to purchase one of those Easy Arrangers. How great is that!
    My friend’s transplanted sunflowers were a complete fail, but I will do better next year! 🙂 Yours are so fun and beautiful and bring such happiness!
    Love your patio and voted that I love the long view and the close up! Mix it up! It’s all good to me


    • Aren’t those Easy Arrangers fun? They’ve been quite the hit. I might just order a few more and host another giveaway. Stay tuned.

      Bummer about your sunflowers, but never give up. Years of gardening taught me that every year is different.

      Thanks for voting and for sharing your perspective on the long view. So far it’s been unanimous.


  8. La la la, don’t mind me, just cutting thru the garden…LOL, love the big picture because I can absolutely picture us there, chit-chatting away. Then, there’s Mighty Mouse running out, full tilt, to join us as Lindy’s snoozing on the warm patio. Slinky’s half hidden in the corner, but those widdle black toes are just visible from behind the generous watering can. What I can quite see, I’ll imagine 😀 and as long as you’re there to spend time with, it’ll be the best day of the week.

    I do remember you buying the vase arrangers at the gift shop, so cool to know they work so well. That was a pretty good shop. I can’t believe I only bought Blue Poppy Seeds. I spotted the coleus that graces your new art work. It’s looking amazing, talk about long living. I’ve never included it in my planters, maybe I should.

    I always love seeing squirrels using their hands, somehow there’s that extra connection with them because of it. Your sweet visitor seems to have a good grip on things. And look at those teeny little ears…omgosh, they are so adorable. It’s so cool to garden year round, now if it’d be a wet winter, all the better xoxoxox K

    Liked by 1 person

    • You describe a probable scenario so well. Slinky in the shadows, Mouse front and center. Wish you were here today for a chat.

      I loved that shop! Lots to see and admire and everyone there so warm and helpful. I guess knowing we had to cart our purchases around for the rest of the day slowed us down. I would have loved to buy seeds if I was aloud to bring them home. That said, its possible they were better zoned for the coastal area. The packages were stunning.

      It’s nice to garden year round, though like many places, spring and summer still reign. I’ve ordered some cover crop seeds to keep the vegetable beds fortified, and I’ve made some leeway on the lawn too. Stay tuned for more on that.

      Yes, those squirrels are a hoot with their tiny little hands. I adore them…even though they drive me nuts too. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh dear, I forgot you can’t take seeds. Hmmmm I wonder if that’s why the sweet peas were such a bummer. Do you think they X-ray or something to nullify them? I did buy blue poppies. I might try to grow them up a bit before planting next spring. Yesterday, at Costco I bought 12 giant Alums. I’ve always wanted them. I thought about tulips too but the borders here all have layers of weed barrier covered by mulch. The few perennials that are there, have been planted in prepared wholes. If I wanted to plant 100 bulbs, I’d have to make 100 tears in the weed blanket. So, that seemed extreme. Maybe I can force them in pots in the spring? That might be cute. I didn’t want to buy more than I could handle but their so pretty on the packaging. They were $25.00 for 100 bulbs. Different colours and mixes were available. I looked for yellow and pink because that’s the mix I used at the lake and it makes a nice show. They didn’t have a bag like that but I could buy two bags and secretly plan the extra’s on a path in the river valley….hehe…Surprise! BOOM it’s spring, LOL I wonder if I’d get in trouble? xox


        • I’ve heard mixed things about seeds. My friend Liz, who also lives and gardens in New Zealand, says they confiscate any seeds or even dried flowers on a card. You can pay to have them fumigated (ah…no thanks) or they simply destroy them. Importing foreign soils, pests or invasive species are always the fear.

          Oh, I know all about buying more that you can handle at garden centers. I’m worse than a kid in a candy shop. The alums sound beautiful. I love buying bulbs at Costco, but I’m always so tired when I leave that place. It’s cavernous, crowded and the floors are hard and unforgiving for lots of walking.

          Forcing them in pots sounds like a good plan.

          Oh what a lovely idea planting the extras as a surprise along the path. You are so special. xoxoxox


          Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that flower painting on the glass as it makes a nice statement in the backyard, not to mention, I love how it adds instant color! I bet it looks beautiful when the sun hits it! I do love your close-ups, but seeing the whole picture always is wonderful. A close-up is good for showing us detail, but seeing the whole picture of your backyard also shows how much more beautiful it is and a place where I could find myself calling “home”. I wish I had something this beautiful to enjoy!


    • I love that painting too. It’s painted by a local artist and theater owner. We connected via Facebook and mutual friends, but met for the first time when I bought the painting. I love it. It is so ‘me’ as they say.

      Your place is beautiful too. And all that space! Love it.


      • That piece of art is definitely YOU. I would like to make a piece of art and use different sized metal circle cookie cutters then melt the pony beads in them. Then I would overlap them a little and glue them in place, then attach them to an oversized wood frame for display. I saw something similar like this and I thought it was the neatest thing. I could see myself doing this! As for you saying that my place is beautiful, it is NOT MY place, it is my boyfriends house. I own nothing.


  10. You are a genius at capturing that photogenic squirrel. Love the flower arranger. They look quite handy. Your views are good anyway we get them. Of course I could have done without the millipedes. Yuck. Did they send them back to Germany?


    • Oh Marlene, during sunflower season, the squirrels make it easy. I plant the camera on the kitchen counter, and frequently get lucky. Then I just click away through the glass.

      I’m glad you enjoy them as much as I do.

      I don’t imagine they send things like that back. They’re probably immediately quarantined to be sure nothing else came through with them.


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