Nothing says a New England summer than a beautiful patch of native flowers! Hollyhock, hydrangea, garden roses, lavender, veronica, Black Eyed Susan and rudbeckia are all regional varieties that we look forward to once July and August roll around. One of the most popular species grown in and outside of the Boston area is the sunflower, which has become symbolic to the east coast growing season. With hybrids ranging from gold to red, this happy bloom is now available in a multitude of different colors, sizes and textures. Don’t just settle for the customary yellow face because agriculturalists are now ready to wow you with more options to load your backyard with. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve found to be both decadent and original to traditional species.
This little beauty is crimson, resembling the shade of Chianti wine (hence the name) and contains little gold flex around the center of the head. The leaves tend to be dark green and the stem will reach an estimated 4 to 5 feet in length. This flower does not produce pollen so Boston florists will love this “shed free” feature of the plant.
Although this sunflower only grows around 4 feet tall, the burst of color is simply spectacular! Resembling the presentation of firecrackers (again, hence the name) deep yellow tint surrounds a bright red that encircles the center. Another bonus of this beautiful variety is that it tends to bloom faster than others and does well if grown in small pots indoors before the garden is even ready to be filled.
If you really want to grow something spectacular this summer, try seeding a giant “Mammoth Russian Sunflower”- you won’t be disappointed. This type can climb over 16 feet in height and have a head reaching more than 12 inches in diameter. They usually color in traditional shades of light yellow and gold but trust me, there’s nothing common about this “mammoth” plant. For those who enjoy eating the seeds, this variety happens to have delicious edibles as well to snack on.