Here Comes the Sun

By Susan Littlefield

Annual sunflowers are among the most gratifying plants to grow. Simply stick a few seeds in the ground after the soil has warmed up, and before you know it, the plants are up and racing skyward to grace the garden with their large, bright, cheerful flower heads.

This season sees some fun new additions to the sunflower crowd. Adding some "white heat" to the garden is 'Coconut Ice' from W. Atlee Burpee. The outer petals of this single-headed, 5-6 foot tall plant start out a rich, creamy vanilla, gradually changing to white as they mature. Set off by a large, coconut brown center, the 4-8 inch blossoms are real showstoppers.

Also from the folks at Burpee is the smile-provoking 'Frilly'. This multiple-headed plant produces a crowd of 6 inch flower heads with unique, ragged, narrow ray petals accented with a ruff of curved, inverted secondary petals around the brown center. A long and prolific bloomer, it's a great choice if you want armloads of flowers for indoor arrangements.

Give both these sunflowers a spot with well-drained soil and plenty of sun, sow the seeds when the soil has warmed after your last frost date, then stand back as they reach for the sky!

For more about 'Coconut Ice' and 'Frilly', go to: W. Atlee Burpee.

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