Uprooted (well, almost!)

We live on an exposed hillside, and when it is windy, it is really windy. All my planting decisions take this into account… usually. But for some reason I didn’t apply this to the annual sunflowers in The ‘Edge. They all have large buds already and were looking so good and sturdy earlier this week…


About 20 sunflowers and Tithonia are planted between the shrubs and perennials in The ‘Edge.

Well, one night we had yet another thunderstorm, but accompanied by extremely strong winds…. I spent a good hour the following morning rescuing and staking them all! With all the rain we have had the ground is so soft that they were almost uprooted. Luckily the stems were thick enough and I could save them all by stamping them back into the ground and putting in sturdy tomato canes and bamboo canes to help them stay upright.

They looked much better a day or two later. I am looking forward to seeing them in bloom. 😃 Do you stake your sunflowers?

I hope that the wind will stay at bay for a while, but the weather patterns seem set for the summer… heat and humidity, then thunderstorms with wind and rain, then a couple of cooler days in between, repeat. 🙃

My title also refers to our new family member… Anouk. Rescued from living rough in a port in Greece she was brought to us last weekend to spend her retirement here.

This wasn’t actually planned, but we think it will work out. Poor Anouk is no doubt feeling uprooted too. But what’s worse is that she is petrified of thunderstorms. So she had a tough time the first few days and we are hoping there won’t be too many more rumbles of thunder this summer.

How is your summer developing? I have heard of heatwaves in the north west of the US and in Canada, and a rather chilly spell in the UK.

Whatever the weather, happy gardening!

49 thoughts on “Uprooted (well, almost!)

    • Thanks Amelia. No language problems as she has never learned to listen to people or commands, so everything is new. She knows her name though! 😃 I think she will learn fast.

  1. I was thinking the same thing about Anouk. If she is from Greece, she is going to have to learn German and that is not easy. 😊 You were so kind to take her in.

    • Hi Karen. Anouk never had to follow commands from people, so I doubt if language will play much of a role. Tone of voice and body language are probably more important. She is a clever girl though and I am sure she will learn quickly!

  2. Cathy you have given the beautiful Anouk a second chance: the poor man is scared by the change of place and perhaps of language. But the love that you are going to give him and all his care will make him very happy and help him adapt to her new home and her new wonderful masters. I hope your fabulous sunflowers endure “through thick and thin” and give many divine flowers, I love them. You should consider planting a protection screen either for hedges or trees or both. You can use wild hedges by planting stakes in the ground. I wish you a time without strong winds or storms. Give Anouk a loving hug from me. Happy gardening and happy weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Thank you for your suggestions Margarita. I hope the sunflowers will now be stable and will post about them again when they flower! 🌻🌻🌻😃

      • Thanks Cathy. Cathy I am looking forward to the sunflowers to recover and bloom and blog with lots of photos of their fabulous flowers – I love it. Happy gardening and good weather. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita 🌸🙏🌺🌼🌞

  3. Our weather patterns sound similar, except we are surrounded by woods, so the wind gets buffered a bit at least. I ALWAYS have to stake my sunflowers. The heads get too heavy and they topple over. Last year I resolved to plant only ones that stay under 5 ft. but even they fell over. This year only one sunflower came up and I never reseeded, so it will be a bit lonely out there. So much to do, so little time!
    I hope Anouk settles in, she must be feeling a bit stressed, poor thing. But she definitely landed in a good place! ❤

    • Thanks Eliza. Anouk is slowly gaining confidence, but a thunderstorm is forecast for tomorrow… I think I will also only grow shorter sunflowers in future, and put stakes in when they are small. But like you say, there is so much to do at this time of year and the weather has meant everything needs doing at once this year!

  4. How lucky that you managed to rescue your sunflowers. All my staking is done very much last minute just as things are about to topple over. Or after they have done. I am intrigued about your Greek dog, Anouk, I wonder what her life has been like.

    • I think one of the sunflowers has suffered, but all the others seem to have survived the ordeal unscathed! We only know a little about Anouk, but from what I have learned I am glad she is with us now she is getting old (around 13 years old we think). 🐾🐾😃

  5. I am glad you were able to rescue your sunflowers, which are HUGE! The ones I grow are not as chunky and I do stake them although they could do with longer stakes in them now – although they survived a cat dragging itself through the nets on my cutting beds and onto the fence this week when I disturbed it! WE had rumbles of thunder late afternoon today but the storm was not over us and we haven’t had anything other than light rain and then sunshine

    • Yes, some of the sunflowers are nearly as tall as me already! The weather was perfect for them so far – hot and damp. But the wind was very fierce last week. We dread storms here as we are so exposed on our hillside and we have lost several trees since we have been here. On the other hand we are so grateful for all the rain!

  6. Anouk is gorgeous!!! Our dogs never really had problems with thunder, although I know a lot of them do. Fireworks as well. People often have tight sweaters or heavy blankets for their pooches when it happens – the wight comforts them?? I never stake my sunflowers, if they fall they fall. As a result, even though our property is quite protected from the heavy winds off the lake by several tree lines, I’ll often have branches from the multi branch type break off. And I remember waking up one morning after a bad storm and finding all my giant sunflowers – just six or eight – lying on the ground! Just created more sun for other things in the garden…

    • I like your attitude… I am glad I could rescue these though as they are looking so promising. I have never grown so many without drought or slugs finishing them off before they flower! 😃

  7. Welcome Anouk! She is a lucky dog 🙂
    The sunflowers look excellent and have recovered well. I rarely stake around here but when I do it’s usually after the fact, so I’m a terrible person for suggestions. The sunflowers must get just enough shelter since they rarely give me trouble. Eventually they lean but don’t we all.

    • Haha! Yes, I think most gardeners need propping up by mid-July! 😉 Although, I think I have already given up trying to tame the garden this summer!

  8. The last sunflowers I grew were low and well branched, and happened be protected from wind. Now, I grew tall solitary sunflowers, and am realizing that they really do not stand up well against the wind, particularly since they were partly shaded well young. They look silly so far.

    • We live and learn. I shall stake mine right from the seedling stage in future… if I dare grow so many tall ones again anyway. It has been pure luck that they have got this far! 😉

  9. The second part of your opening sentence reminded me of Longfellow’s little ditty:

    There was a little girl,
    Who had a little curl,
    Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good,
    She was very good indeed,
    But when she was bad she was horrid.

    To answer your question: summer in Texas is busy being, well, summer in Texas. There’s nothing untoward about heat here now and for months to come.

  10. I love the way you have carved out that bed and filled it with sunflowers. Glad you resuscitated them and can’t wait to see them flowering. That’s going to be a lovely feature. I have never grown sunflowers but have a pack of unplanted seeds I bought a couple weeks ago, not even thinking about how tall they might get. I need to hurry them into the ground. Anouk has found a loving home.

    • Thank you Susie. The sunflowers are fillers for this year as the perennials and grasses in the bed will only fill out next year. Glad I could save them so far as there would otherwise be some big gaps!

  11. How disappointing to find your sunflowers toppled over. I hope they recover well with your attentions. I have not grown sunflowers for several years. I have never had to stake them. The wind storms now days might change that if I was to grow them again. It seems we have days and days of winds even without storms. The weather as been spectacular the past few days. We even got a little rain. However the typical hot dry weather of summer is supposed to move in.
    Best of luck with your new dog. Older dogs are such a joy. I am sure he/she will settle in and enjoy life soon.

  12. Your sunflowers look incredible, they are massive, can’t wait to see them in bloom. Anouk looks very sweet, hope she doesn’t get too scared by more thunder storms and hope she enjoys a happy retirement with you. Is she scared around people too, or only extreme weather?

    • She is very friendly but barks at anyone who dares walk or drive past the gate! We solved the thunderstorm problem last night… ear massage each time there is a clap of thunder! It worked! She didn’t hear a thing! 😉

  13. Lovely views of your plants! Congratulations on the addition to your family. I hope the rumblings of thunder stay at a minimum for Anouk’s sake.

  14. Oh glad that your healthy looking sunflowers didn’t suffer any serious damage Cathy and that you have been able to get them back to an upright position. I stake mine but your spiral supports look so much more attractive than my bamboo canes. Anouk looks looks most at home already with a content look on her face. A French name I think. Fingers crossed for few storms. I wondered whether the horsey books that you mentioned on one of my posts were by Josephine – Pullein Thompson or one of her sisters?

    • Hi Anna. They survived another hefty storm last night, so the supports work. 😃 That name does ring a bell. I found the series I was thinking of though… by Marguerite Henry. Misty of Chincoteague; Stormy, Misty’s Foal; and Sea Star were some of them. And of course I read Black Beauty several times! 😉

  15. That’s going to look fantastic when they are all in bloom! I usually end up staking Tithonia … eventually. I only have grown ‘Italian White’ branching sunflowers and usually they don’t need staking. But I never say never.

    • I hope they survive until they flower! We had another storm two nights ago, but the stakes seem to be doing their job. Everything has grown so tall this year, not just the sunflowers! I have never had to stake my Tithonia in the past, but they may need it in this exposed bed.

  16. Lovely garden you have ! My dog too is terrified of thunder but when you put the radio on it is less frightening for dogs.

    • Thanks for the tip. 😃 We have the television/youtube videos on in the background in the evening anyway, but found that an ear massage whenever there is a clap of thunder works wonders! 😉

  17. Anouk looks pretty at ease and no doubt will settle in with time. Such a fab playground for her! I usually don’t do sunflowers but have just spotted a self-sown specimen in the gravel. No staking needed though as it’ll stay tiny 😉

  18. I love Anouk! How wonderful that you have taken her in and given her a forever home. Our dog was a rescue, and I’m very biased, I admit, but I think rescue dogs are particularly sweet. They almost exude gratitude. 🙂 So glad you could rescue your beautiful sunflowers, Cathy. They are such a happy presence in a garden, and with so many, they will be stunning!

  19. Pingback: The ‘Edge in July: Sunflowers et al. | Words and Herbs

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