July 4th Sunflower Liberation

Wild Sunflower
Wild sunflower, completely recovered one week after transplant.

I rescued several wild sunflowers on the fourth of July from their death camp: a construction site that had been bulldozed for the building of yet another strip mall.  I had pulled up several more of them the previous week for transplant, but there was a huge hill of fill dirt covered with hundreds of sunflowers that I couldn’t save.  When I came back ten days after my initial rescue, the hill had been flattened and all the sunflowers destroyed.  There were a few survivors around a storm drain that the bulldozer could not reach, and I pulled up four of them. That’s the good thing about wild sunflowers; they are exceptionally tough.  I simply yanked them out of the ground.  The roots are so strong that they retained a lot of their native soil for a root ball.  When I transplanted them to row five of my wildflower garden, I just dug holes slightly larger than the plants’ root balls, filled the holes halfway with water, set the plant in the ground, and filled the dirt back in.  In less than a week, it was impossible to tell the plants had ever been moved, and some of them were blooming!  That’s about as close to an instant wildflower garden as you can get; the plants were three to four feet tall already, did not have to be cut back, and the existing buds remained viable and bloomed as they normally would. Absolutely awesome!