For the last few weeks, most of our giant 15-footer sunflower plants have been falling to unseen forces. Their heavy heads bend in precarious homage to the clover patch beneath the towering stalks; others splay on the lawn, broken and decapitated. With no wind and little rain, it seemed unlikely that the mere weight of the admittedly abundant seeds could send such large plants toppling earthward. Highly unlikely except when you add a few furry ounces at key places along the woody stems.
To confirm my suspicions, I managed to snag a copy of their Sunflower Attack Plan, the main outline here (as translated from Eastern Backyard Varmint):
1) Rabbit stands on hind legs and pushes smaller stalks down until they snap. Bunny then strips off leaves and devours said items.
2) Squirrel extracts seeds, eschews leaves.
3) In event of plant resistance (i.e. Rabbit can’t break larger stalks), Squirrel takes running leap then jumps onto plant, scurries to flower heads and dangles by back legs, plucking and eating one seed at a time until either a) all are consumed or b) Two-Legs comes out, waving arms and/or shouting.
And there you have it– down goes Goliath!
Well, since we plant sunflowers to enjoy their outsized beauty (and as a gift to pollinators), we don’t really give a hoot what Rabbit and Squirrel are up to, truth be told. Let them be like little children getting away with extra dessert or later-than-usual bedtimes. We’re the grown-ups. We’re in charge. We run th—excuse me…
Hey, you, Rabbit! Get away from those veggies, now!!!
Sorry, what was I saying?
Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes