It’s August and I am longing for the consolation of sunflowers. When the light begins to fade and harvest season approaches, a stand of giant sunflowers is assertive and cheerful. Alas, we have no garden and even the mean little deck we converted to an outdoor aerie is forbidden. Not so much as a windowbox is thriving around here–and certainly nothing as fabulous as sunflowers. So Sharon Lovejoy’s Sunflower Houses seemed like an optimistic read.
This book will appeal to the secret earth-goddess-hippie in you. It’s about much more than sunflowers, although they do appear in charming formation. The book is a collection of vignettes, children’s garden games and magical interactions with nature. You can learn how to make daisy chains and grow giant cucumber fish in a bottle. There are reminders about creating commons for the fairies, using rain barrels and mulching to save water. You could design butterfly gardens, clock-shaped gardens, pizza gardens, try some worm composting, cultivate ladybugs.
A tall teepee of branches planted with vines makes a wonderful tent as it fills in. And the sunflower house in your garden can be a place of wonders with soft green grass for a floor, huge sunflowers for sentinel walls and morning glory vines for a green and blue roof. Green gourds make very useful birdhouses when you cut doors in them, scrape out the insides and let them dry suspended from a fence or some cross poles. Pumpkin patches are brilliant–plan to carve one on the vine into a jack-o-lantern to scare the goblins out of your garden.
Sunflower Houses describes a world light years away from this urban-asphalt-concrete summer. It’s an inspirational gardening book full of stories and reminiscences about flower and vegetable and berry patches. Perfect fantasy reading for a city-dweller in dire need of green and paintbox-bright and growing things.
Sunflower Houses : Inspiration from the Garden – A Book for Children and Their Grown-Ups Sharon Lovejoy | Workman Publishing 1991