I Don’t Need Perfection

Every year I plant sunflowers in my herb bed. Big, bold, late-summer blooms are so cheering.


Almost every night we eat dinner on the screened porch and so I plant a mid-height sunflower, that has substance (I’m not fond of dwarf varieties) but that won’t block the view. This year, when purchasing seed packets, I realized that I needed to add a criteria other than size and color to my selection process. Because sunflowers are now popular as cut flowers, many of the varieties are pollen-free hybrids. That means that the blooms won’t leave a dusty mess around the vase, and the centers will be a perfect black.


But, no pollen means no bees, and I like seeing their fuzzy legs covered in gold.



And no pollen means no seeds for the goldfinches to eat.



Although my sunflowers start out beautiful,



they don’t stay that way for long. Sustaining the local creatures takes it’s toll.

pecked at


In the large scheme of garden design, raggedy edges don’t matter. Besides, all you need are adorable garden ornaments to distract from the imperfections.



  1. Garden Delights…flowers and especially moving ornaments. Beautiful!

  2. Looks like you have achieved perfection to me! Fuzzy bee legs and swagalicious Scooter. Thanks for a happy start to my day.

  3. Beautiful flowers! I grew some that were so burgundy, they were almost black. I have a quick question and don’t know where to ask it. Have you ever seen a chicken that is, I guess, drooling. My chickens are trying to exist in Texas 100+ heat. I have water, ice, fans, watermelon, everything i can get to keep them cool. But one of my chickens has started having this brownish wet on the front of her. She picks at it, and my other chicken picks at it. Is it normal/ Thanks. I need some help and I can’t find anything about this in any book.

    • Not normal and possibly serious. The only experience I’ve had with fluids coming up is when the hens had peritonitis, or other issues causing a build up of fluid in the body cavity and it had nowhere to go but up. You also might have a sour crop issue. Email me privately and maybe we can figure this out.

      • Please email me,. I can’t get an outlook account set up. Thanks

        • Just right-click your mouse on the “Contact Terry” button; one of the options in the drop-down list is “copy email address”. Click on that, then open your email account, open a “New Message” window, and paste it (Ctrl-V) into the “To:” field.

  4. Lol.. Mine look similar, however I think a Racoon has been coming up on the porch the way mine are beat down. I actually don’t plant. Mine just grow from underneath the bird feeders. Its fun to see the different varieties pop up from the black oil bird seed.

  5. I kept saying I was going to plant sunflower seeds this year and I never got around to it. I miss those cheery “faces”.
    Scooter is the best ornament around. :)

  6. This post brought back some really happy memories. Years ago when our children were school age, we used to have Sunflower growing contests along with our kids cousins down the street. The idea was to grow the largest plant and then have your picture taken along side it. The funniest one was of my husband up on a ladder, beside his plant, with a goofy grin of victory. I think it is about time we planted some of those beauties again.

  7. You are a gardener after my own heart. I too noticed this year that many varieties of sunflowers were sterile (no pollen). I was looking for a shorter variety also. As a beekeeper and bird lover, it was completely unacceptable to just have “pretty” rather than “pretty AND functional”.

  8. Check out the book Sunflower Houses, by Lovejoy. She has the neatest books about gardening fun with children.

  9. i planted one of those big b-i-g sunflowers about 5 years ago and have had sunflower seeds sprouting into baby plants in the spring ever since. so what i do is keep about 3 of the furthest along plants and offer the others to neighbors, relatives and just passers-by. they grow a little crazier every year, this year on 3 plants i probably have 50 flowers – all big – all pretty and all well loved by every bird that flies over. i’m not one who thinks plants need to be neat – and they’re not. but they are sure enjoyed by everything from bugs to people

  10. That is the cutest lawn ornament I’ve ever since bar none. Oh and don’t tell my Lulu though, she’s darn cute too.

  11. Not only are Sharon Lovejoy books informative and beautiful, but she is a lovely person to boot. I am lucky to live in a place that she lived in for a very long time and so her books have special meaning to me.
    Joyce in Cambria

  12. Pretty sunflowers & garden. I had two sunflowers in my flower pots The squirrels must of dropped sunflower seeds into my flower pots. :)

  13. Most mornings, I sit outside with my four Buff Orpington girls, enjoy a devotional, and catch up on my email. Your blog post today very nearly qualified as the devotional! Gardeners may expect sunflowers to be beautiful, but also to serve several useful purposes and feel cheated when they don’t. I’ve run into people like that (sometimes I AM people like that) who look good, but contribute little value to others. I’d so much rather be a raggedy specimen at the end of the day, knowing that my interaction with others has been helpful to them. Food for thought today!