This is my sunflower patch so far this summer.

Volunteer sunflowers

All vol

It’s grown up big and beautiful like it does every year in my garden even though I haven’t planted a single seed. Nope, these are all “volunteer” sunflowers, grown from the black oil sunflower seeds dropped by the various birds that visit the circle of birdfeeders that I have inserted into the ground around the sunflower patch on (nice looking) metal poles. I’ve had this set up every year for about the last five years that I’ve had a garden and every year I’ve ended up with a sunflower patch like this.

I have this patch situated close to the porch so I also get to do a lot of birdwatching from the feeders… because I’ve become a big geek who likes to watch birds – with binoculars even. I know that the experts say that you should offer different kinds of birdseed to attract different kinds of birds, but every time I’ve tried anything fancier than the simple black sunflower seeds, my birds quit coming.

However I have zero luck with hummingbird feeders. I hang them here and there, try different liquid mixtures recommended by different friends, try the commercial mixtures designed to attract hummingbirds and nada. I am obviously a hummingbird-repeller for some reason. My mother has a literal hummingbird frenzy around her back porch. It’s almost so many hummingbirds that it can get annoying. But even using her super secrets to hummingbird attraction, I’ve had no luck. The only hummingbirds we see are hovering around the flowers.

But that’s okay. I see plenty of awesome birds at the feeders I have up, including bluejays and the occasional bluebird, finches and redwing blackbirds, and lots and lots of male and female cardinals. They obviously never stop at our birdfeeders, but we also see lots of wild turkeys and red-tailed hawks on our property. (The hawks, unfortunately, devoured my entire, small flock of chickens in only 24 hours.)

But back to the sunflowers. I love the idea of a garden planted entirely by animals. And not only do I love the way that the sunflowers look outdoors, I love the way they look indoors as well.

Indoor sunflowers

So do any of you guys have any all-volunteer, bird-planted sunflower patches? And how about those damn hummingbirds? What could I be doing wrong?


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