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Sunny Volunteers

July 14th, 2011

There’s not shortage of volunteers in the garden. Every year I have some kind of flower that appears everywhere and it seems each year it’s a different kind. This year I have sunflowers popping up everywhere.

No doubt they’re planted by the birds, squirrels and chipmunks that frequent our bird feeder. Up until this year our lot has been too shady around the bird feeder for these sunflowers to germinate and flower. Since we had those trees cut down they finally have enough sun to bloom.

The funny thing is that I planted a bunch of sunflowers and each seedling was eating by the crows when they emerged. At least I’ll have some sunflowers after all, even if they’re not the fall color mix that I planted.

Do you grow sunflowers in your garden? What’s your most prolific volunteer this year?

20 Comments to “Sunny Volunteers”
  1. Sue on July 14, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I always look forward to the little “bouquets” that pop up around the yard compliments of our chipmunk friends. Some of my most interesting sunflowers are those I let grow. Sunflowers are just about my favorite-I love their cheeful colors.

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  2. Melissa on July 14, 2011 at 7:43 am

    It’s sunflowers around here as well! And I think they all turned out about a foot taller than planned. I’ve got a beautiful one in the front yard that has yellow petals with a reddish pink area at the base of the petals– gorgeous- called a Selma Sun! I love it!

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  3. Gabe on July 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

    We have a few sunflowers too, which I’m guessing are from the bird feeders as well.

    We also have a handful of snapdragons, which somehow managed to tag along from our old house, probably on the peonies we transplanted.

    Being our first year here, we don’t have much in the way of volunteers, but that will surely change next year!

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  4. Tee on July 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Same thing here at our garden and farm. My daughters planted two packets of sunflowers… I think one of them has emerged. However, leaving the driveway yesterday I saw five rogue sunflowers. I just figured one of the girls ran off to make their own garden… Now I agree with you it was most likely from an animal gardener and our bird feeder.
    Either way I love sunflowers. One year I told everyone I wouldn’t birth my baby till the sunflower bloomed… One morning I woke up to a mammoth sunflower bloom…and had my baby that night.

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  5. Misti on July 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

    We grew some variegated ones this year. Love them! I need to take photos of my brother’s sf’s they are 7+’ tall!

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  6. Daedre Craig on July 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

    My most prolific volunteer this year (and almost every year) is tomato! I intentionally planted about 55 plants in the garden this year and I think I probably ended up with another 10 or 12 volunteers (and that’s after pulling hundreds of them). I’ve been leaving only the plants that aren’t directly in the way of something else.

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  7. Diana Holly on July 14, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Like Daedre, my volunteer tomatoes are both numerous and bountiful. I expected volunteers in my “old” garden, but not in my new beds. But two tomatoes popped out of the compost. We had to transplant them because they were right in the middle of our strawberry patch, but they are the first of our fifteen or so tomatoes to ripen; we picked the first one this morning! One appears to be a grape tomato and one is some kind of heirloom, neither of which I’ve grown before. The “old” garden has too many volunteers to count, like most years, and we also had to pull or relocate many of them to give everyone enough space.

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  8. goatpod2 on July 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    We don’t grow sunflowers, we did one year for our goats but if we do grow them it’s usually from the birds planting them from our goat food. Our volunteers this year are our morning glories.


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  9. MAYBELLINE on July 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I grow sunflowers.
    Volunteer = spurge!

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  10. Allison on July 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I planted mammoth sunflowers all over the place this year and bordering my garden. I can’t wait until they bloom!

    We have some volunteer cilantro in the Starwberry patch doing quite well :)

    Reply to Allison's comment

  11. Barefeet In The Kitchen on July 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

    We do have sunflowers, but they are struggling right now. :( We’re trying to figure it out, but they seem to have enough water. Would extreme heat kill them? They are SUNflowers! I wouldn’t think it was possible.

    Reply to Barefeet In The Kitchen's comment

  12. Michelle @ give a girl a fig on July 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I planted quite a few sunflowers in the spring and then we had record rains and I think they got waterlogged. They never did sprout. Once the weather settled down I planted a handful more and two sprouted. I thought they were supposed to be easy to grow! :)

    As for volunteers…tomatoes!! Three volunteer plants…and I believe they’re grape tomatoes. Which is strange because they’re not from heirloom plants (as far as I know). Not sure what’s up with that…

    Reply to Michelle @ give a girl a fig's comment

  13. Angela on July 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Beautiful sunflowers! And what a nice way to make up for the ones that were eaten by crows. Mine haven’t bloomed yet. I had to replant them because the first seedlings were clipped by squirrels or birds. I do have a volunteer tomato plant that we found growing in the weeds beyond our property. That was a nice surprise. :)

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  14. AGinPA on July 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Seems to be the year for volunteer sunflowers. I’ve got tons. I’ve tried to grow sunflowers in the past but they always got eaten at the seedling stage. Apparently it’s easier to grow sunflowers by accident! The birds are loving mine right now. I’ve got goldfinches and a titmouse out there every day eating the seeds.

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  15. Grace on July 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    My hubby wants me to plant sunflowers every year (and corn)–I haven’t got around to planting either of them! Perhaps next year.

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  16. KimH on July 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I havent grown sunflowers but someday I shall… :D

    This year my biggest volunteer is Columbine.. EVERYWHERE.. I think it spread more than the lemon balm.. Im not sure. Its a toss-up.

    The veggie that has volunteered is either a pumpkin or vining squash.. not sure at this point.. There are at least 5 or 6 of them.. and I just let them go & be happy.

    Your photos are gorgeous!

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on July 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Columbine can be quite invasive! I make sure to cut the flowers before the seeds form to avoid this issue as I had terrible trouble in the past with them popping up everywhere – and they can be hard to pull out!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • KimH on July 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

        And here I tried to get some established for a couple years before I gave up.. Several years later.. they did more than I was looking for. I’ll remember that for future reference. ;)

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  17. Sue Nugent on July 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    It’s the Black Eyed Susan here. They are so bright and colorful.I mow and pull lots of them, but every now and then, I find one growing in a spot that is just perfect, so I let it grow., and then I am so happy when they bloom. They are beautiful.

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  18. Whit on July 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I leave the sunflower planting to my daughter…she planted some mammoth and autumn sunflowers in her first garden bed this year. Fingers crossed…they’re doing well so far.

    Our volunteer plant this year is borage. :) I planted it with our tomatoes last year, and now it’s all over the garden. The bees love it.

    Reply to Whit's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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