Thursday, August 13, 2015

Volunteer Sunflowers, part 3

The tale of the Sunflowers didn't end with my painting.  After the flowers were pollenated, the ray flowers shriveled and fell off and the flower heads drooped.  It would take several weeks for the seeds to finish maturing and be ready to harvest.  My plan was to harvest and dry the flower heads with the seeds intact, to later user to feed the birds.  Every few days I checked to see if they were ready to be harvested.

One day I found cracked sunflower seeds on the backs of the flower heads.  Birds had discovered the seeds and were beginning to eat them.  Over the next week I watched Gold Finches, Cardinals and Crows come to the garden and wrestle individual seeds from the flower heads.  The flowers that had fed the bees, and provided me with beautiful subjects to paint were now feeding the birds too.

Seeds were pulled from the edges first, then further towards the middle as they too matured.  The birds had to be quite acrobatic to remove the seeds, hanging over the edge of the flower, or even upside down.  Their struggles would make the flowers shake violently.

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