‘Chocolate Cherry’ Sunflowers

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I’ve decided to take the plunge back into the world of sunflowers. Anyone gardening in public space knows that sunflowers have a time-sensitive contract out on their lives beginning the moment they bloom. Their big beautiful blooms inspire grabbing hands that MUST rip and tear and have them all to themselves. I’d like to think those grabbing hands are taking the decapitated, stemless heads home and cuddling with them at night, clutching them with joy. The hands are lonesome. They need beauty in their life! Odds are that those ripped flowers don’t make it down the block — tossed into a City planter as soon as the hands realize the awkwardness of a stemless flower head.

The sight of enormous decapitated plants poking from the back of the garden is too heartbreaking. I got fed up years ago, throwing my arms up in defeat and announcing “A sunflower will never bloom in my garden again!”

And so I have remained since, living in denial that sunflowers exist. Allowing myself rare moments to enjoy them in other peoples’ gardens but never allowing myself to look at seeds or varieties. It’s all very sad and heartbreaking.

I let my guard down in a moment of weakness on our trip to Austin last month. We had soldiered through the rain and across a highway to visit Big Red Sun garden center. I refused to leave empty-handed having put in such great effort to get there! As soon as I saw this pack of ‘Chocolate Cherry’ Sunflowers from Renee’s Garden I knew I had to grow them. I had been withholding from sunflowers for so long that I had completely missed out on all the rich, burgundy varieties available. Now that the door is open I’ve also got my eye on ‘Cinnamon Sun’ and ‘Junior.’

You can bet I will not be starting any of these in the street/guerilla garden. No ma’am, I am saving a nice sunny and safe spot on the roof for these babies and I MIGHT attempt to grow one in my plot at the community garden where their safety is less secure but much greater than their chances in the Garden of Doom.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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17 thoughts on “‘Chocolate Cherry’ Sunflowers

  1. I got a free packet of sunflower seeds with my last seed order, there’s no specific label on the packet, though so I’ll just have to wait and see what they are when they bloom. I love ‘Chianti’ ‘Jade’ and ‘Honey Bear,’I think I may need to add some more this year. It’s such a terrible snowball effect. I did the same thing with tomatoes, one little plant makes me think how pretty it would look with others… I think I’m in trouble, again. I suppose there are worse addictions.

  2. Ooohh those chocolate cherry sunflowers are pretty! I grew cinnamon sun a few years ago and loved them, I might still have seeds for them I’ll have to look.

  3. When i look at the lovely illustration on the seed pack, i know why you couldn’t resist this variety.

  4. Ooh! Those are the most scrumptious looking sunflowers I’ve ever laid my eyes upon…Can’t wait to see pictures of them in full bloom!

  5. I almost bought this variety while buying vegetable seeds online last night. They just sound so pretty but I already have three types now- my favorite our strawberry blondes- so I decided to restrain myself until I have more room.

  6. I’m feeling brave and delurking to say how much I love your site! And those sunflowers look fab! Can’t wait to see your pics of them!
    PS. Have linked to you on my blog. I’m assuming that’s Ok but as new to this I’m not sure of the netiquette!

  7. I’m a big sunflower fan- being a transplanted midwestern girl. This year I’m doing Saroyan (a multi-brancher) and sunny smile (a little dwarf that’s *supposed* to do well in pots). I wouldn’t be late July without them. I usually pick the wicked tall ones to keep them out of the hands of thos who just can’t resist plucking- though those are usually my kids rather than passers-by.

    Good luck!

  8. Hey from Tajikistan!
    I have teddy bear and Paquito doing well in this hot climate. For some reason my Autumn Beauty refused to germinate…

  9. You’ll love those chocolate-cherry sunflowers! I grew them last year and the name does them perfect justice. The petals are a rich translucent brown that lights up with a cherry glow when the sun passes through them!

  10. Ah, sunflower thieves, I once had someone take an entire 6′ tall plant: roots and all it dissapeared one night.

  11. I know, I have a strange relationship with sunflowers, too…mostly because they take up quite a lot of space and they are sort of one shot deals…I like more blooms for my buck. but I just couldn’t resist this year…I bought like 5 packets…where on earth will I plant all of those huge flowers??

  12. I was always “meh” about sunflowers until I saw these same ones! I had no idea there were so many different colored varieties these days either. My seedlings are about 13 inches tall already and I can’t wait for them to bloom!

  13. I just planted a packet of the Chianti variety at work. I work in a nursing home. A friend suggested that I start them in cups inside before transferring the plants to the courtyard. What do you think? Any suggestions to help them grow and keep them healthy?

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