Win this 5×7 Sunflower Print and a Packet of Sunflower seeds to grow in your garden this spring! Details at the end of the post.
Last night I sat on the floor with the 2015 seed catalogs spread out like a semi-gloss floral carpet. When choosing seeds, I’m a practical person. Vegetables and herbs are first and foremost. They win out over flowers when it comes to space in the garden and in the budget for seed purchases. But there is one flower that I always factor in. That being, the Lemon Queen Sunflower.
Sunflowers are quintessential to the farmyard landscape. They’re cheerful old souls with human like qualities and a bonny disposition. I can’t imagine our garden without them. But besides being beautiful to look at, sunflowers are a beneficial plant that helps pollinators of all kinds.
The reason I’m growing Lemon Queen Sunflowers this year is because I plan on participating in the Great Sunflower Project and Backyard Bee Count.
What is the Great Sunflower Project/ Backyard Bee Count?
The Great Sunflower Project is an organization that collects data from people like you me from around the country. They use this data to learn where bee populations are growing and where they are declining. This helps determine where conservation action is required. All you need to participate is a plant that attracts pollinators (like Lemon Queen Sunflower), a bit of time to count the bees that visit and a pad of paper to record your findings. Then visit the Backyard Bee Count website to record your data.
Check out this video from The Great Backyard Bee Count to learn more.
Before we were able to get bees, I participated in the Great Sunflower Project. For those of you who are anxious to start bee keeping but can’t for practical-life reasons, this project gives you a connection to bees even if it’s not with a veil and smoker. And I love that! If you have room for a garden pot and a sunflower, you can help bees!
Why the Lemon Queen Sunflower?
All sunflowers are beneficial to bees but the Lemon Queen is an especially good choice for those of you who want to help bees. The Lemon Queen Sunflower produces several flower heads off a single stem, which gives the bees more opportunities per plant. Lemon Queen does very well in container gardens. It can be planted in a pot and grown on a patio. So even if you have an apartment, you can grow Lemon Queen! It provides nectar and pollen as all sunflowers do, but Lemon Queen produces more pollen which is beneficial to larvae who feed on the yellow stuff.
So what can you do right now?
1. Sign up for the Great Sunflower Project/Backyard Bee Count
2. Order your Sunflower seeds and participate in the giveaway below. Look up when you can start your flowers indoors in your area so they get a head start this spring. (Planting indoors always help me get through the last stretches of winter.)
3. Start researching bee species in your area. Learn to discern them from wasp species. Pick up a field guide or download and study the Backyard Bee Count free Bee Identification Cards. It’s not required for the backyard bee count to know your bee species, but it’s a fun and educational activity.
There’s lots we can do to spread awareness about bees. To motivate you, I’ve set up a giveaway that will hopefully promote sharing and learning. To enter, share this post on your Facebook Page and leave a comment below that says “shared”. You’ll be entered to win this Sunflower Print in watercolor pencils by me Jennifer Sartell of Iron Oak Farm and a packet of Lemon Queen Sunflower Seeds! The winner will be announced on the Keeping Backyard Bees Facebook Page on February 21st so be sure to check for your name. If the prize isn’t claimed by February 25th, a new winner will be selected.
You can also visit our sister site Community Chickens where I discuss how growing sunflowers can help your backyard chickens as well! Help Pollinators and Your Chickens with Sunflowers!
Happy planting, watching and recording!