Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Angelina Jolie Receives Sunflowers From A Rock Star

What do rock stars buy for their mega-movie star friends after the birth of a child? Well, rocker Gwen Stefani recently answered that question when she and her husband, Gavin Rossdale, brought an enormous bouquet of sunflowers to actress Angelina Jolie after the birth of her daughter with her boyfriend, actor Brad Pitt.

Sunflowers are aptly named since their enormous golden blooms closely resemble the sun. They also, quite literally, follow the sun; their blossoms turn to follow the sun as the day goes on.

Sunflowers come in several varieties, such as:

* Autumn Mix: These are the giant plants that grow over six feet tall. They come in yellow and rust colors with blooms five or six inches wide.

* Teddy Bear: This variety is a smaller type that has a full, fuzzy bloom. It grows to around 18 inches tall.

* Italian White: These sunflowers aren't the typical sunny, golden color; they're a creamy whitish color. The plants grow to a height of approximately four feet and produce small blooms.

* Large Varieties: These varieties include the huge 20-inch blooms of the Russian Giants and the ten to fifteen foot tall plants of the Kong Sunflower.

Sunflowers are an ancient flower, used by Native Americans as a medicinal flower and food source since as early as 2300 B.C. They provided early Americans with medicines to treat warts, snakebites, and sunstroke. They also provided oils used on the hair and were ground up to create face paints. Foods made from sunflowers included seeds roasted and ground to meal for baking, seed balls much like today's peanut butter, and roasted hulls steeped in water to produce a hot beverage.

Today sunflowers are a very popular garden flower loved for their big, beautiful blooms as well as the ease with which they're grown. They should be planted in full sun after the threat of frost has subsided for your area. If you're starting them from seeds, plant the seeds about one inch deep and six inches apart. If you're planting seedlings, plant them about eighteen inches apart (twelve inches for the smaller varieties). Give them a good dose of water after they're planted and keep seeds damp until the plants pop through the ground. You may need to stake the plants as they grow to provide support and keep them from bending or breaking in the wind.

Even if you choose not to grow your own sunflowers, you can still enjoy them or given them to friends to enjoy just by visiting your local florist who is sure to have these gorgeous flowers on hand. So, go ahead, send some flowers to the movie star in your life-or just to your best friend or mom-she'll appreciate them as much as Angelina Jolie did hers.

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