Friday, June 8, 2012

Floriography Friday: SUNFLOWER

Floriography is The Language of Flowers. A discreet form of communication, particularly used in Victorian times, Floriography has been around for past generations with religious and symbolic meanings, continuing on to this day. A bunch of flowers wrapped in a lace doily and tied with ribbon, also called a Tussie-Mussie, reads like a poem and/or secret message.

For the first FLORIOGRAPHY FRIDAY here at Gretel’s Modern Day Fairy Tale, we are learning about the SUNFLOWER! I have included the SUNFLOWER'S Floriography, general information, general growing information, magickal properties, history, and things you can do with the SUNFLOWER!

SUNFLOWER has several different meanings, depending on what type of SUNFLOWER and who you ask.  Pride and sunshine, Congratulations or Thank You for Everything are pretty general. For the tall variety, false riches and pride; For the dwarf variety, admiration.
So for me, I would totally go for sunshine and a thank you!  I do not look at a SUNFLOWER and think anything but happiness and brightness.  I would give a Tussie-Mussie with SUNFLOWERS in it to my daughter for her birthday or to say Thank You to someone that made my day brighter. Or even for a graduation gift.

The SUNFLOWER is one of the few crops originally from North America.  The Native Americans were the first to domesticate the SUNFLOWER.  And there are archaeologists that think SUNFLOWERS were domesticated before corn!

After being brought over to Europe via Spain in the 16th Century, the SUNFLOWER made its way over to Russia, where it was  commercialized for the first time.
The Native Americans used the SUNFLOWER for food, purple dye, body painting and other decorating. Now a days, it is used for edible oil, meal, industrial applications, and non-oilseed (For bird feeders and human consumption), just to name a few. 
The SUNFLOWER was named for its bloom that looked so much like the sun.  Some think that the SUNFLOWER “tracks” the sun.  Which is partially true. They are phototropic.  As a young bloom, the SUNFLOWER follows the sun which increases light exposure and photosynthesis.  After pollination,  it starts to face down and to the east permanently.  This protects the seeds from solar radiation.
This really cool flower is also the State Flower of Kansas and the National Flower of Ukraine!

These flowers are tall and showy, with daisy like flower heads, with round stems early in growth and then become more woody. SUNFLOWERS attract bees, butterflies and birds.
The SUNFLOWER is usually yellow or red, but come in lots of different colors. They can grow from 2 feet tall to 10 feet! Average 2-4 in across.  Some varieties require support. According to Wikipedia, there is at least 32 species. SUNFLOWERS have a very short growing season. They go from seed to flower in 2-3 months. 

SUNFLOWERS need full sun and long, hot summers to flower well.  Moist, well-drained soil is required.  SUNFLOWERS can grow in almost any type of soil as long as they do not get waterlogged.  Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep rooting.
The SUNFLOWER can tolerate high and low temperatures ranging from 69-91*F, but prefer 70-78*F. You can sow SUNFLOWER seed right into the ground once risk of frost is over; soil temperature being between 55-60*F.  If possible, plant in a spot sheltered from high winds like a fence or building.
SUNFLOWERS bloom in the summer, late July through September. Mulch heavily and fertilize often! These flowers do not winter over.  Most are heat and drought tolerant.
Birds and squirrels love the seeds.  This can cause them to become pests.  Other pests to keep an eye out for are deer, a small grey moth that likes to lay its eggs in the blooms, downy mildew, rust and powdery mildew.
These are MY SUNFLOWERS I started this spring. They are surrounded by Alyssums.  

The SUNFLOWER is used as a symbol for the solar deity.  Also, associated with the day SUNDAY, because their planetary correspondent is the Sun. Used by those who are seeking confidence and wealth or fame and fortune.
Also associated with creativity
The SUNFLOWER’s magickal meanings are: Opportunities, self-actualization, happiness; wishes, wisdom, fertility, health, money magick; energy, protection, power; false riches; royalty; truth. You could use the SUNFLOWER in any spell, ritual, meditation etc. having to do with any Sun God or Goddess or any Sabbat or Holiday around the Summer time.
Sleeping with a SUNFLOWER under your pillow is said to show you the truth in all matters.

-They make excellent cut flowers for flower arrangements
- Save dry heads (especially the large ones) and set out for the birds in the winter time
-Save thick stems and dry them for winter kindling 

(All images were found on google images except the picture of the flowers in a flower pot. That picture was taken by me.)

Next weeks FLORIOGRAPHY FRIDAY will be geraniums! 

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