The sunflower: Six on Saturday: 26 Feb 2022

It’s difficult to ignore the awful fact that there’s now a war in Europe. So my first photo for this week’s Six on Saturday is of a sunflower, which is the national flower of Ukraine and which I post here as a small gesture of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

This sunflower was growing in Lingbo, Sweden, at a farm we stayed at last July

I discovered that sunflowers are widely grown in Ukraine, which has rich soil that they enjoy, and the country is one of the world’s biggest exporters of sunflower seeds and oil. They have even featured in this war: have you seen the video of the Ukrainian woman confronting a heavily armed Russian soldier to offer him sunflower seeds? She told him they would grow where he falls. Kudos to her.

2 Shredder. This week, I have a new toy! I’d like to thank Fred a French Gardener for his really useful advice on shredders, merci Fred. I happily found a local supplier just one street away from where I live. This one is great because it can be folded away for easy storage in our somewhat over-crowded shed. Our neighbours’ rougue bamboo, which I dug up last weekend, was my first victim, very satisfying!

I was then able to make this lovely mulch with the many twigs and fir tree needles that came down in the storms:

3 Crocus. These are growing around the crab apple in the glade, a great colour for this time of year! Like little bowls of sunshine.

4 Allotment garlic. I gave the cloves from my own harvested garlic to Roberto last autumn for the community allotment I’m a part of, and here they are growing really well. I think they like the slightly sandier clay loam here better than my own heavier clay in my garden!

5 Allotment broccoli. This was always going to be a bit of a risk! I planted out three plants shortly after being given this patch on the allotment. They have been there all winter without protection, and at the mercy of the hungry critters. Well, one survived ok, but the other two have been well and truly nibbled. I’ll need to keep a closer eye on things! There’s also a fair bit of weeding to be done.

6 Allotment flowers. There’s a good mix of flowers among the veg, tulips will be coming soon, and these pretty narcissi and crocus add a bright splash.

Before I sign off, there’s some exciting news to report: I have started a new project, offering gardening workshops to beginner gardeners here in Belgium. There’s been a great response so far, I’ve had more than twenty registrations since advertising it on the Gardening in Belgium Facebook group yesterday! I’m looking forward to this new phase in my horticultural journey, and hope that it will be good fun too!

Thanks as ever to The Propagator who hosts Six on Saturday – if you visit his site, you will find plenty more gardeners sharing their gardens from around the world. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

31 thoughts on “The sunflower: Six on Saturday: 26 Feb 2022

  1. It’s terrible what happens in Ukraine now…. I didn’t know that the sunflower was the national symbol of that country. Nice gesture you did here.
    Your shredder looks great, it will benefit you garden with a lot of compost and mulch.
    Lot’s of succes with the gardening workshops !!!
    Enjoy the weekend and many greetz.

  2. The shredder look very efficient! I’m happy for you. And you were brave to start with bamboos.. because it can jam.
    Nice sunflower, if only it could bring peace….🙏

    1. Yes you are right, it did briefly jam with the bamboo leaves! I find that if I mix plenty of dry twigs in with leaves then it’s fine. I decided to go for the quieter turning rotar version, and easy storage, Stihl brand.

  3. I gave up looking for shredders after reading so many negative reviews about jamming. Luckily I don’t have many trees or shrubs! Good luck with the new garden venture, what with that and the allotment and your garden to look after you are going to be a very busy lady this year!

    1. So far just one jam, but there’s an easy way to resolve it. It feels better than having to buy in mulch but of course the machine comes with its own carbon footprint so I hope it lasts and I get lots of use out of it. Yes, busy, that’s me 🙂

  4. Hi selwa sunflowers are a symbol of joy peace and art alas what is happening in the world . Lv your shredder I would lv one but don’t like machines much! 😒 good luck with the new group.

  5. Congratulations on starting your gardening course. The mulcher looks like a lot of fun. I could use one, as my source of chips for the paths dried up. What was Fred’s advice? The sunflower is beautiful, both in itself and as a gesture of solidarity.

    1. Fred recommended a blade-based shredder, noisier but more efficient at chopping up leaves. But in my garden it’s mainly twigs and woody material so I went for a rotar system with the brand Fred recommended. It was useful to know there are options!

  6. Is your shredder really noisy? I hate using our petrol driven one as it makes such a row that I have to wear ear protection! Any idea what is nibbling your broccoli? Good luck and have fun with the workshops!

    1. It really isn’t too noisy, I don’t need ear-protection: the cog-based ones are quieter, but was told the blade-based ones are more efficient with green material but noisier. Also it’s electric not petrol which helps. Not sure re the broccoli snacker, number one suspect is the slug!

  7. I saw the story of the woman with the seeds but I hadn’t realised that the sunflower was the national flower of Ukraine. I just hope that the sun returns to their country before too long. The whole thing is so tragic and frightening. I hope you get many hours of pleasure from your shredder. I’m the chief shredder here and I shred absolutely everything before spreading the mulch over the borders and adding it to the compost bins. I love it ! Congratulations on getting so many responses for your new project. I would love to participate but Brussels is a bit far from here 😉

    1. Yes I agree, this war is awful and senseless. Very upsetting really. But on more positive notes, workshops and shredding, yes isn’t it great to have homemade mulch, I love the idea of recycling as much as possible within the garden.

  8. I didn’t see that lady with her sunflower seeds – wish I had. And thanks for pointing out that they are the national flower of Ukraine. I think the meadows there are supposed to be truly wonderful. I wish I could see them. Love your shredder. Ours doesn’t get enough use because I’m a bit afraid of its weight – I have to drag it around a bit. You chose an excellent brand with Fred’s help (we took what Aldi offered!!!). Looking forward to hearing more about your gardening workshops – what an excellent and enterprising idea!

  9. Oh, I had no idea a garden shredder like this existed! We don’t need a large chipper for our property but a smaller shredder like this would be perfect. Beautiful sunflower and sentiment for the Ukrainian people, too, it’s one of my favorites to grow here. 🙂

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