New life amid the polar vortex

Sunflower bud

“If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”
— Henry David Thoreau

I called myself out back in November for not giving an earnest effort to grow sunflowers even though I had checked the task off my list. So as the temperature plunged, I borrowed a grow light and set up some small self-watering containers down in my basement. Sure enough, within a week or so life sprang forth, with the little sprouts pushing their seed coverings up through the soil and wearing them like silly hats.

I started with about 30 sprouts. They quickly outgrew their plastic containers, and I transferred the biggest to some pots. Another month, another transfer, and I now have six big plants. About once a week, the plants grow up to the light, and I have to raise the platform.

I always get a little down in the winter as the days get shorter and the cold keeps me indoors, but I got a lift each day when I went down to the basement to water the plants and saw that they’d grown bigger since my last visit.

Last week, while the polar vortex swirled outside my Connecticut window, little triangles pushed forth from the center of the biggest plant. A bud was swelling, and inside that whirl of shapes, a flower was waiting to emerge.

My husband, a biology teacher, cautioned that plants may not flower if conditions are not right, that they’ll conserve their energy instead. But something is happening, and summer is coming.

(Scroll down to see updates of the flowers that bloomed.)

Here Comes the Sun: A video slideshow set to a favorite Beatles song
(Video link)


Update: 01/25/14 ~ A flower!
Blooming basement sunflower

Update: 02/28/14 ~ A second flower
basement sunflower

Update: 03/09/14 ~ A third flower
third basement sunflower

basement sunflowers with grow light See also: Perspective, a photo challenge

Update 04/06/14 ~ They survived until the spring to live outside! Read about it — They did it (Gargleblaster, a 42-word challenge)
About to bloom basement sunflower, now outside

Basement sunflowers outside

Update 04/13/14 ~ A fourth flower that bloomed outdoors

Update 04/17/14 ~ And a fifth flower
Outdoor little sunflower bloom

Update on 04/18/14 ~ A final update? It doesn’t look like the sixth bud will make it to a full flower: Attack of the killer squirrel
Squirrel climbing up sunflower plant collage

Ailing outdoor sunflower bloom

101 things in 1001 days Follow-up to #71: Try to grow sunflowers again (101 Things in 1001 Days)

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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28 Responses to New life amid the polar vortex

  1. I’m really impressed. I’ve never been able to make anything grow under lights except mold.
    Marilyn Armstrong recently posted..ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION, GET A SIMPLE — WRONG — ANSWERMy Profile

  2. I have a black thumb! But, you sure are doing a great job with your gardening. Love the photo of the blossoming flower.
    ConnieFoggles recently posted..The Babysitting GrandmaMy Profile

  3. Abby says:

    They look really happy and healthy! Maybe you should move to Colorado and set up shop!
    Abby recently’s his fault for not even knowing what he ownsMy Profile

  4. Hey, that’s great! You got back to it 🙂 Hope they bloom come August! x A
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..Personal Travel Map Arrives to Keep Memories AliveMy Profile

  5. Karen says:

    I love this post!
    Karen recently posted..Something NewMy Profile

  6. Joe says:

    I want a vegetable garden but Kellie has claimed all our limited arable land for her succulents.

  7. How lovely! What a nice winter surprise. Sunflowers remind me of my grandmother, who had such a nice green thumb. Sometimes it really is the little things. 🙂
    Natalie – The Cat Lady Sings recently posted..Talk Me Out of ItMy Profile

  8. Sunflowers are so cheerful. What a great choice to counteract the winter blahs.
    that cynking feeling recently posted..Ten Things of Thankful #32My Profile

  9. dailyshorts says:

    I love sunflowers. They’re smile flowers. I say that because every time I see them I smile. You apparently have an extraordinary green thumb to grow them in this weather even if in doors.

    You’ve definitely beat the winter blues with these “smile flowers.”
    dailyshorts recently posted..Reboot — Version 20.14My Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Yes, they are so cheerful, and taking the photos added to it because I can see so much more detail in the photos than in the small flower. Thanks for visiting.

  10. Aisha says:

    Wow, that is sooo impressive – sunflowers blooming indoors in winter in Conecticut! You go girl! Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful photos!
    Aisha recently posted..Ep. 7 – Joyride to Egypt: Oh Please Pinch MeMy Profile

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  15. Natalie says:

    Very creative, Marcy! I love this!
    Natalie recently posted..Sherlock MomMy Profile

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