As soon as I looked outside this morning, I knew what I would have to write about today. My son, Alex, planted sunflowers a few years ago, and they keep coming back. The first year they were there, I kept telling him to cut the weeds down because they just looked ugly. He kept telling me to wait, that they would be cool. I didn’t believe him, until suddenly one morning, they bloomed, all at once.
Every year since then, I have put up with the ugliness of the long, long stalks through the summer just to see the glorious blooms in the fall. It’s difficult at times, because they really don’t look like they will ever be beautiful. Then suddenly one day, there they are, bright and glorious.
Although the flowers themselves are much smaller than standard sunflowers, some of them grow enormously tall, while others stay closer to the ground. These tall ones are well above my head, close to nine feet tall. It’s pretty amazing to look up to flowers like this!
The sunflowers are not the only thing that Alex has planted. He also put in a ginger plant, which is doing very well. Ginger likes things a bit swampy, and Gainesville is nothing if not swampy. Especially this year, with the abundance of rain we have had around here since June. The ginger flower is really unusual; it looks almost like a red pine cone, closed up tight. But unlike a pine cone, the ginger flower is soft, and when you squeeze it, it exudes a gingery-smelling liquid. This is a bitter ginger, not like the kind you actually eat, although they look very similar.