Cult of the Sunflower

Dear Liza,

It is hard to remember during these hot summer days, but for MOST of the year, Portland has very cool, cloudy weather. Besides being chilly, it can cause vitamin deficiencies which effect people’s moods and sleep patterns. Doctors here make sure everyone (even the pets!) get vitamin D supplements, because we miss a lot of sunshine.

So I guess it makes sense that we worship the sun a little. Or, barring that, the sunflower. Yep, these tall yellow beauties are very big here, in all senses of the word.

There is a house down by Seawellcrest Park that perfectly shows this obsession with sunflowers. Not only does it host a forest of the giants every summer, but their shape is echoed in the stones and metalwork decorations. These let you remember, walking by in the winter, to “watch this space” for the next summer’s crop.

We paid a happy visit to the “Sunflower House” on the Fourth, watching the bees do their thing and feeling the sun on our backs.

But sunflowers are not all that easy to grow. I have sown a dozen seeds or more, and they have all died in the ground or just after sprouting. I will chat with my local garden colleagues and find the right varieties for this area, and, as all gardeners say, “We’ll do better next year.”

Love,

Grandma Judy