every year, i try to grow an experimental crop in the garden to see what i can nuture into this world. usually these experiments fail. Cob never misses an opportunity to remind me of the Okra Year, when i told myself that i could convince a plant that has never felt a cool dry summer to produce in sub-arctic Fairbanks. i admit that i fell short of my visions of cases upon cases of pickled okra, one of my favorite things in the world, but i consider it a success that my little plants produced one, very perfect okra. it was good.
this year, you might say i'm trying two experimentals - my sunflowers and you can figure the other one out from this picture.
but check out that sunflower! i'm 5'7" for reference - this thing is a behemoth and its siblings are no slouches either. here's the close-up:
can you imagine a thing of more beauty? it delights me to no end that this was a simple seed in my hand last April. now it greets me out the kitchen window every morning. oh, and the bumble bees like it too. growing sunflowers made me realize why bumblebees are colored the way they are.
some might say that growing sunflowers in the land of the midnight sun is hardly experimental, but it is for me. i don't think the point is to introduce an exotic (like okra?) so much as to do something new, even if it's only new to you.
fingers crossed that my other experimental turns out just as lovely, just as wondrous, just as surprising (but maybe a little less tall and attractive to bees)...