A Sunflower from Eseltjiesrus is surviving winter in Cape Town

When we visited Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary during a whirlwind week in February this year, to introduce our respective moms to our adopted Donkey, we saw that all the sunflowers outside the cute little shop were in full bloom.

We picked up a couple of seeds and, on our return home, planted them in a flower-pot. It felt like we were taking a bit of Donkey’s home with us back to our home.

Bright and cheerful, they embody the heat and joy of summer

Much to our delight, all six seeds began to send up shoots through the soil, and we were getting quite hopeful that they would survive beyond the weak and delicate seedling stage. Unfortunately, we had reckoned without birds, snails, slugs, beetles, caterpillars… A couple of weeks later, only three were strong enough to be planted out into the ground.

Since then, two more have fought and lost the good fight against the aforementioned ‘enemies’. The cold winter rains, chilly winds and long nights certainly didn’t help either.

Close-up of our courageous sunflower

One, however, has proudly ‘hung in there’ and survived! Although it has lost almost all its leaves by now, it has sent all its energy and vitality into producing one, single, cheerful, golden-yellow bloom that stands in dramatic contrast against the dark, grey, rain-heavy clouds and the muddy, water-logged earth.

We were so thrilled by its courage and perseverance, that I just had to share our joy with all of you.

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9 thoughts on “A Sunflower from Eseltjiesrus is surviving winter in Cape Town

  1. What a lovely story – almost like Hans Christian Andersen would have written it! In our last winters no sunflowers could have survived 3 – 5 months of snow and frost….

  2. I found myself thinking about this story and seeing the images long after I read this–very nice. I hope to plant and grow great sunflowers out on the farm in Oregon. I can’t wait for the birds to enjoy the seed head. Smiles. Sher

    • I love sunflowers too – I think they are one of the most spectacular, confident and joyful flowers in the world!

      Um… so the birds will eat the seeds? … Erm… actually, we were hoping that we could salvage some of the seeds from our one-and-only flower so that we can try planting more for spring/summer… I guess we might have to build some sort of mesh-structure around the bloom… or perhaps the birds will leave us a couple of seeds?

  3. I love your courageous sunflower, Reggie. It is very brave and beautiful to have survived all those challenges. Your photos are lovely. Even if the birds eat most of the seeds (which they did, when we had sunflowers) it seemed that some of the seeds dropped to the earth and produced sunflowers the following year. So much wildlife enjoying your bounty!

    • Ohhh, I feel much reassured now, thanks, Kathy. I don’t mind the birds eating the seeds, as long as they leave enough behind, so that we get *more* sunflowers next time. It’s quite a battle to survive out there! I know my flower isn’t the most perfectly shaped specimen, but it had *such* heart and courage, surviving against all the odds (hm… rather like those donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary, in fact), that I felt it deserved its own little blog post. 🙂

    • Yes, I’m sure they will try! ‘Making flowers’ is indeed not as easy as one would like to think, what with all those other competitors – snails, slugs, worms, caterpillars, aphids, birds… Holding thumbs!

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