Haven’t done one of these for a while.

black eyed sunflower

Someone at work is growing beautiful black-eyed sunflowers. The photo doesn’t really do this sunflower justice but the centre of it is soft, velvety, like the eyes of a sweet little pup.

We are used to sunflowers being so bright, so cheery, so er, like the sun. This version is the more mature, more I’ve-left-all-that-extreme-cheeriness-behind-me version. It is the Catherine Deneuve of sunflowers.

For the longest time I had gone off sunflowers. I think it was the ubiquitous Van Gogh print that did it. It was in every student flat I visited in the eighties. Eventually I got sick of it being the only print to adorn the walls of my friends and dumped mine out in the laneway behind the flat I was living in.

When my neighbour across the hall invited me in for tea the following day there was the sunflower print on her kitchen wall as bold as brass. ‘Isn’t it gorgeous?’ she said. ‘I found it in the laneway. It’s as good as new.’

I swore off sunflowers forever at that point. Until I saw the one with ebony eyes and petals like a lion’s mane. It is a sunset flower rather than the sunrise suggested by its brighter sister.

Burnished with amber, it fills the room with a quiet warmth. Truly lifting the spirits.

17 thoughts on “LIFTING THE SPIRITS #9

  1. Those are some of my favorite sunflowers. Yes, the big yellow darlings are fun to grow, and the critters love the seeds, but the darker ones are a treat for the eyes.

    I like the thought of it being a “sunset” flower. Not that I’m anywhere near my OWN sunset, thank you, but I’m well past the big-new-day-everything-is-so-new attitude. Not exactly jaded…

    Thanks for sharing this with us.


  2. OMG…your imagery is STELLAR, here Sel.
    Until I saw the one with ebony eyes and petals like a lion’s mane.
    It is a sunset flower rather than the sunrise suggested by its brighter sister.
    soft, velvety, like the eyes of a sweet little pup.
    the Catherine Deneuve of sunflowers.



  3. Try thinking of an 8-foot sunflower in a pot, being carried across town in a station wagon with the tailgate open and the flower protruding out the back.

    (Yes, it did happen, but it’s too complicated to explain why)


  4. Wow, what an amazing flower. When I was a kid we lived in a country town and all around were fields and fields of sunflowers and sorghum but I’ve never seen one like that before.


  5. KAREN:
    So you’ve actually grown them? I love them. I might try to grow them myself. I hope I’m not jaded either but I like to think of myself in more subtle, muted shades these days. I ain’t neon yellow, that’s for sure.

    Sloe-eyed beauty. I love that. What a lovely and fitting expression!

    Thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it 😀

    It was such a cute moment really to see it hanging on her wall. I had a good laugh about it later on!

    I think this time of year would be perfect. I’ll check up on that for you!

    Reminds me of that Eric Sykes skit “The Plank.” I’m sure you had a reason for buying an 8 foot tall sunflower. There’s a story there all right!

    They really are quite striking. I’m going to give them a go too!

    I love them. The colours are deep and rich. To see an entire field of them would be quite mind-blowing!

    I did go off them for quite a while. But I’m now a born-again sunflower lover!


  6. It does look just like a lion.

    The other day at school I saw a black geranium. Now normally I’m not a fan of geraniums, very low brow and not terribly exotic, but this black one was amazing. I am taking a cutting and having a go at growing one. If it goes ok I will take a pic of it.


  7. I love sunflowers too, they always make me smile (kinda like pansies smiling back LOL!!!) Ive never heard of this variety before, sounds gorgeous.

    Hope to “see” you soon, G


    I lived in a flat years ago with this enormous rubber plant. It was over ten feet tall and weighed a ton. Three guys had to carry it out whenever I moved. In the end, I had to leave it at my old house in Newtown – it just became too heavy to move. I still miss it – it was such a cool plant!

    I’ve never seen a black geranium. Oh, I hope it grows for you. I would love to see it!

    A garden full of pansies and sunflowers would keep us smiling for days. I think I should get planting!


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