Monday, August 10, 2009

Volunteers in Botany

I love the term "volunteer" when referring to plants that come up on their own. Of course, this only refers to plants we like versus plants we don't like: that is, weeds.

When we remodeled our backyard, I finally put in a seed bird feeder. One of my favorite places to sit in the afternoons is in an Adirondack chair, watching the chickadees dance around the snowball bush, vying for a chance at the feeder.

Some of the birds swoop in, grab a sunflower seed and then swoop off to a nearby branch to eat. Others are sloppier; they perch at the feeder and pick at the seeds until they find the perfect seed. Meanwhile, all of the seeds they were picking through go flying.

I didn't really think about it much until I looked down at the ground while watering the other day and the area under the feeder is carpeted with sunflower shoots. Dozens and dozens of them. They don't have much chance to mature since it is already the second week of August, but I am leaving them to do as they will. I plant sunflowers in our front yard and the volunteers that come up the next year are always heartier than the transplants. I hope some volunteers shoot up again in the backyard next year too.

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