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Sunflower privacy fence

By Penny Stine

Last spring, my son and I tackled the grass on the sloped area of his Denver yard. He wanted to get rid of the grass and put in annual flowers and perennials that wouldn't need mowing.

He preferred sunflowers so they'd act as a privacy hedge as well as an interesting color contrast. I suggested some zinnias and marigolds, too. We bought five or six different packets of sunflower seeds, in various yellow, orange, burgundy and rust hues.

The zinnia packet said they were purple. As you can see, they're not. But the pink color works well with the sunflowers. 

Like all sunflowers seem to do everywhere... they grew




and grew and grew some more. 

The neighbor warned him that he'd never get anything to grow in this side yard. The kitchen window looks out over these flowers and my son said it made him smile when he did the dishes to look out over and see the sunflowers, amaranth and cosmos. 

Frankly, it makes me smile just to think he does the dishes even if we're not planning a visit!

When I visited my mom in July, I dug up some of her root-bound iris bulbs and replanted them in my sons' front flower bed. 

We're planning a trip in October, and I'm thinking I may have to plant a few more spring and early summer bulbs. 

Needless to say, I'm having fun playing in someone else's yard. 

We also threw down some kale and cucumber seeds even though we did nothing to amend the soil. The kale grew enormous and the cucumbers produced like crazy. 


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He got his mom’s green thumb.  Sunflowers are my favorite flower. “It’s the happiest flower”.- From Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.

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