The Sunflower, folklore says they are a symbol of good luck.
When we see a sunflower, because of its size of the flower and height of the plant, it does catch your attention. This imposing plant, with its large sun like bloom balancing on its tall slender stalk, normally 7 to 8 feet in height, is a master at reproduction. Each sunflower’s head is made of smaller flowers. The petals around the outside are called ray florets, and they cannot reproduce. But the disc florets in the middle, where the seeds develop, have both male and female sex organs, and each produce a seed. They can self-pollinate or take pollen blown by the wind or carried by visiting insects.
They originated in the Americas, and were cultivated in Mexico and Peru as far back as 3000 BC. Their seeds are rich source of oils and good health properties; vitamin E, vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin. The Spanish explorers brought them to Europe in the c1500’s inspiring Greek Mythology and the Russian Royals. It became the national flower of the Ukraine.
In many folklore traditions, sunflowers are seen as symbols of good luck and are associated with truth, loyalty, and honesty. Planting them around your home and garden will bring good fortune your way. If you want to know the truth about something, sleep with a sunflower under your pillow and the next day, before the sun goes down, the truth should be revealed to you. The sunflower is considered a flower of loyalty because day after day, it follows the sun, from east to west. In some folk magic traditions, it is believed that slipping a bit of sunflower oil or seeds into someone’s food or drink will cause them to be loyal to you.
Robin’s Glen Organic Farm is located in Glenmore, South County Kilkenny in Ireland and is owned by Eleanor and Richard Murphy where they grow Sunflowers as well as organic cereals for cattle and poultry feeds as well as bird seeds. This adventurous couple switched from regular farming to Organic farming in 2009. Their reason was “I’ve seen both options, chemical and nature, nature outlives all” said Richard. I asked Eleanor why she was so committed to the organic way. “Because it’s the best” she replied. Chatting with them over a lengthy cup of tea in the kitchen, scoffing homemade bread and generally talking about the physical health of the nation, their enthusiasm and commitment to the production of good organic foods on the farm was infectious and praiseworthy.
Their large crop of Sunflowers is a spectacle to see in itself. They welcome visitors and encourage you to pick some of the flowers to take home, at 50c a stalk, and Eleanor explains, “When you have finished enjoying the flower, let it dry in the garage and you will then have seeds to plant in your own garden next year”.