Garden Planner: By Mary James
Add Sunflower Cheer
See sunflowers and you’ll smile — no one can resist their big cheerful faces. There’s still time to plant sunflower seeds — Renee’s Garden, Botanical Interests and Burpee have good selections of both dwarfs and giants more than 10 feet tall in single and bi-colors from rich mahogany red to cream. Give them the sun they crave, water while growing tall and a stake if their heads bow. For sunflower cheer on a shrubby plant, opt for the perennial Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, a hybrid that grows 6 feet tall and spreads slowly to 3 feet wide.
In the summer, it glows with masses of soft-yellow flowers with brown eyes. This year it’s a recommended planting for a nationwide bee-monitoring effort known as The Sunflower Project.