I am obsessed with sunflowers! 

All varieties, all colors, all heights, I love them all.  I am especially fond of The American Giant variety, ones that grow up to 16 feet tall with flowers that can be 10 inches or more across, and have huge leaves, with stems that are bigger around than the trunk of a small tree.  They are astonishing!  Simply unbelievable!  I have been known to take picture after picture after picture after picture (and on and on) of them.  I’m not sure the word “obsessive” can fully describe my sunflower fascination. 

This year I was fortunate to have four of the ten American Giants planted grow in my garden and they didn’t disappoint, each growing to at least 12 feet with ginormous heads.  Every day, twice a day, morning and evening, I tended them.  As they grew, I watched with intrigue how their heads followed the sun as it made its journey across the sky. 

One flower in particular really fooled me because I thought the bloom was not going to be big at all, in fact it really looked rather puny as it was forming.  Awkward doesn’t begin to describe a twelve-foot stalk with a three to four-inch bloom formation.  She fooled me. 

I guess that’s one of the many things that delight me about sunflowers—anticipation and surprise.  In an instant gratification culture, the sunflower is in no hurry to give its prize instantaneously—and it is well worth the wait. 

Hope, another quality I like about sunflowers.  In a parable, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.  (Matthew 13:31).   Sunflower seeds, my mustard seeds, a promise of hope, my simple interpretation. 

There is a lovely hymn called Hymn of Promise by Natalie Sleeth that gets to the heart of my sunflower passion.

In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed, an apple tree,
In cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will soon be free,
In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody,
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me,
From the past will come the future, what it holds a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning, in our time infinity,
In our doubt there is believing, in our life eternity,
In our death a resurrection, at the last a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.