This week with the passage of Hurricane Sandy we in Florida were lucky, seeing nothing like the widespread devastation experienced across the northeast. Would be good to say that the storm left the coast of Florida untouched, but the wind factor put a dent in that. From early last Saturday through Sunday evening stormy seas whipped up by Sandy eroded beaches badly, washing away dunes and carrying sand by the ton back out to sea. But at least our houses are standing and we have power. Looking at photos of the situation in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and New York it sounds tame to talk of tides on Florida’s east coast smashing harmlessly against a sea wall fifty feet away, but as I said, Florida got lucky. At the end of it all here’s what it looked like under Monday’s full moon.
A couple of blocks west of me a road runs north and south for a good distance, a route I rarely use. Yesterday I had reason to drive for a couple of miles on that road and at one point came upon a sight I had not noticed before. I last saw sunflowers a couple of years ago when I came upon a small patch of them growing above a river bank, stalks and flowers about five feet tall. The sudden appearance yesterday of sunflowers fifteen feet high at the side of the road almost made me swerve into the opposite lane. I right away wanted to stop and have a closer look, so pulled over to the side. A sign in front of the sunflowers warned me that the area around the flowers was for Buick parking only, so I had to find a spot not so close for my non-Buick. It was hard to get a satisfactory photo without walking into someone’s front yard, so I made do with a poorer angle. The picture below shows the sunflowers in comparison to a utility pole, as well as the Buick parking sign. Nice touch of humor.
Looking later at the photo below I began to wonder if these are true sunflowers, as the distinctive dark florets in the center are absent. On seeing such tall golden-yellow flowers with large saucer-sized heads my immediate thought was, “Oh, those are sunflowers.” But it’s entirely possible that these are a cousin of the true sunflower with a name I don’t know. I almost want to return to the spot and knock on the door of the house there to ask about the tall flowers. Whatever the true name, look closely in the floret below and you’ll spot a bee tanking up on pollen and nectar.
The view below is another angle that shows much of the same with a soon to unfurl blossom to the left of the flower. Perhaps someone can identify the leaves here as distinctive. Give a holler if I’m off the mark in calling these soaring specimens sunflowers.