The judge bangs the gavel, declaring court in session.
“Who brings this matter before the court?”
“It is I, your honor. Liatris.”“What is your complaint?” asks the judge, staring sternly at Liatris.
“Your honor, sir, “ Liatris replies. “I am here to request an injunction against Sunflower. I am asking that Sunflower be removed from the south side of the stump.”The judge continues to stare at Liatris, stating “Present your evidence.”
“Your honor, sir,” Liatris says. “Sunflower has been allowed to grow in my space. She has also been allowed to grow amongst the beautiful swath of Gloriosa Daisy adjacent to me. Your honor, sir. Gloriosa and I are in a position to present some gorgeous looks, but Sunflower is in the way. Simply put, sir, she is ruining our look and ruining our view.”Liatris continues. “Your honor, sir. I present to you the fact that, in this particular space, Sunflower is not even an intentional flower. She is birdseed, sir. She is only present here due to the fact that the stump is used as a bird feeder through the winter.”“The Sunflower growing around me represents uneaten food. She is bird seed, labeled Black Oil Sunflower, purchased for the purpose of feeding birds.”Liatris continues. “I present further evidence, your honor, sir. When the bird seed germinated, sir, it was universally expected that it would never grow to maturity. Everyone thought the deer would come along and eat it, enjoying Sunflower, like they do. The deer had become comfortable with the environs of the stump over the winter, your honor.”“We all know that mixing deer and Sunflower results in chewed off, hopeless sunflower plants. So I present to you, sir, the fact that not only is this Sunflower just old bird seed, but NO ONE worried about it germinating, because EVERY ONE thought the deer would eat it. But for some reason the deer didn’t eat it. Sunflower was allowed to grow and now it is beginning to bloom.”“I bring the case to you now, your honor, sir, because I am coming into bloom and I want to be seen. That is for what I live, sir. But if we allow the sunflower around me to bloom, I fear the gardener will lack the intestinal fortitude to remove it even when it becomes ratty and begins to fall over. My entire bloom season will be ruined, your honor, sir.”
Liatris has more. “Sir. Your honor. I present to you that if you grant my request, Sunflower will still have a great year. She still has the entire north, east and west sides of the stump.”“And sir, Sunflower is having a great year elsewhere. She is receiving special treatment in Mary’s Garden, being supported with bamboo stakes.”“And she is presenting herself as some remarkable specimens. Look at this, sir. She looks like some kind of overgrown cabbage.”“And there are several similar specimens, your honor, sir.”“I am not requesting the removal of sunflower from the entire gardens. No, sir. I only request that she be forced to quit ruining my view. She will still have a great year, your honor.”
The judge stares at Liatris. “Is that all?” he asks.
“Yes, your honor, sir. That is my only complaint. However, I would present to you more information about my own situation, if you permit.”
“Continue.” states the judge, flatly
“Sir, as you know, I am one of the original perennials in this garden. I was moved here from the old house. There are only a few of us, your honor, sir. My original position in this garden was in the flower box near the house, but that space has been allowed to be dominated by container based tomato plants and I am crowded there, to say the least.”“Sir, this spot on the edge of the stump is my best spot. Not only am I an original perennial, sir, but I was the first perennial moved to the stump after the big poplar tree was cut down. And sir, as you may recall, it has not been easy. This spring the crazy canine of lab-beagle mix dug me up repeatedly. There was some real question as to whether I would survive, sir. But I did survive. But to what end? To be obscured by sunflower? It is an outrage, sir.”
Liatris rests his case. The judge calls for the defendant. Sunflower steps forward.
The Judge asks, “What do you have to say in your defense.”
Sunflower speaks in a soft, casual tone. “I am what I am. I grow. That’s what I do.”
The judge stares at her with a look of consternation. “Is that all?”
Sunflower shrugs. “I am what I am. I am bird seed. Yes, your honor. Bird Seed! I am proud of it. But does that mean I should be removed so Liatris can have his ‘look’? NO. Forget Liatris. I really am bird seed. I am growing here to feed the birds. The goldfinches are eating from the feeder because I am not yet mature.”“But your honor. I am producing the most marvelous seeds.”Sunflower continues, “Soon the gold finches will be hanging from me, eating fresh seeds. Think of it, your honor. One of the coolest moments in the garden year – goldfinches eating fresh sunflower. Do you want to ruin that so pretty little Liatris can be part of a picture? Be real. This is life. I request that you allow me to grow and bloom everywhere I am already growing.”
The judge scratches his chin. He looks to the co-plaintiff. “What about you, Gloriosa Daisy? What say you?”Gloriosa steps forward. Big, bold, confident. “You honor, sir. Sunflower is producing plenty of seed for the birds elsewhere. Please remove her from my presence. Liatris and I have a great look we’re working on and she is ruining it. And sir, I am achieving a beautiful swath as well. I still look great, if I do say so myself, but Sunflower is interfering with the purity of my most excellent swath.”“Thank you all,” states the Judge waving them away. He has heard ample evidence. He closes his eyes and thinks. The competing interests are compelling. Flowers, birds, looks, swaths. He thinks about priorities… It is summer. This is a flower garden. The birds are well treated throughout the year, but the flowers really only have the summer. And poor Liatris. That dog thing was humiliating. But Sunflower deserves credit for growing so marvelously in a highly competitive environment. He thinks of a reasonable solution.
The judge speaks loudly, clearly and with complete authority. “I have made my decision.”
Liatris and Gloriosa look at each other nervously. Sunflower tries to appear relaxed and casual.
“I order the immediate removal of Sunflower in the exact vicinity of Liatris. The court permits Liatris to have his ‘look.’ I order that Sunflower be allowed to remain amongst the Gloriosa Daisy temporarily. Gloriosa Daisy does not lack for great swath looks, as can be observed on the edge of Mary’s Garden.”
The judge continues. “The court will allow Sunflower to bloom amongst the Gloriosa. That may be a fine look in and of itself. However, Sunflower will not be allowed to grow to maturity in that position. The birds will have plenty to eat elsewhere. Once Sunflower blooms amongst the Gloriosa and we have all had a chance to see how that appears, her flowers are to be removed for purposes of decorative bouquets and the remainder of her plant will be removed. The court will not allow Sunflower to become ratty and fall over in the middle of a gorgeous flower garden for the sake of a few meals for the gold finches. My decision is final.”
The judge bangs the gavel and dismisses the court.
Liatris and Gloriosa look at each other. Not bad. They rush out of the court to go tell the others and to get working on that awesome look. Sunflower walks out of the court casually, saying to those who are watching her, “It is what it is.” She appears unflappable on the outside but inside she is seething. Bouquets? Not her thing. She redoubles her determination to bloom marvelously this year. She is going to look great. She is going to attract those birds. She is going to make the judge think twice the next time he orders her to be unceremoniously pulled from the ground, jammed in a bucket and thrown on the compost pile just as she was beginning to bloom.”The End.
37 thoughts on “June 23, 2014 – Liatris v. Sunflower”
I think it was a wise ruling. Can’t have complete lawlessness in the garden!
The Liatris and Gloriosa Daisy combination really is pretty.
We trust the judge to make wise rulings. You might detect that general lawlessness reigns in my garden, but complete lawlessness? Can’t have that. Yes, it is a nice combo – contrast in color and shape. Thanks Grower. 🙂
As always – Beautiful images, just perfect to brighten a cloudy, rainy day! 🙂 LOVE the sunflowers!
As always – thank you very much. I’m glad to brighten your day. I hope you have a good one today! 🙂
I have had volunteer sunflowers from the birdseed. I am always happy to see their bright shiny faces. In the vegetable garden there is no competition for glory, they grow in harmony. I’m familiar with Gloriosa Daisies but not Liatris, thank you for the introduction. I loved your story.
Thanks. I’m glad you loved it. I liked writing it. 🙂 “Competition for glory” – I hadn’t thought of it that way, yet that is exactly how I present it. Those nutty flowers! The liatris is Liatris Spicata, commonly called Spike Greyfeather. It’s a tough, hearty perennial which will expand, if given room. Cheers. 🙂
Now that’s a heck of a compliment. Thanks! 🙂
I understand! I have trouble eliminating rogue sunflowers myself!
Indeed. Do you have trouble because there are so many, or do you – like me – have trouble eliminating them because you hate to pull them? Which, by the way, seems to be the only choice. I’ve never successfully moved a sunflower once it is more than two feet tall. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. 🙂
Like you – I hate to pull them! I just love their sunny faces.
That stump sure makes a great feeding station. I wish I had one like it.
It does make a great feeding station – an excellent bird community center in the winter. We get a real feel for the social construct of the bird world watching them interact on the stump. e.g. the other birds leave when the blue jay shows up. I hated to cut down the Poplar, but love the sun and make good use of the stump. Cheers. 🙂
Yippee! I have these purple flowers and entire field! They do not bloom till later though! I live in Oklahoma! Things seem to bloom later here! I love your sunflowers! Your flowers are heaven! Also you bird pics are perfect! That deer is huge! You have the perfect yard that attracts them! Purple and yellow are beautiful! Looks like all your friends showed up today! 😄😄😄
Thanks. The deer in Indiana are a large breed – about twice the size you might find in Georgia or Florida. I’m not familiar with Oklahoma deer. It is curious that your flowers would bloom later, as you are further south. But you are also further west, so who knows. Have a great day! 🙂
A very creative and fun story, Jim. And as always, the flowers are beautiful. I really like the sunflower close-up.
Thanks. That sunflower close-up is interesting. Infused with yellow which makes it feel infused with light, all the while focused on the fascinating geometry of the growing seeds. And the pretty little fringe around the seeds…. I think that is why I grow flowers. They really are fascinating. Have a great day, Cynthia. 🙂
So clever…so beautiful! Loved this post. Your photos are stunning 🙂
Awwww, thanks. It’s my pleasure to share. 🙂
I can see why the judge made the decision 🙂 Flowers, birds, deer, … Heavenly!! I love the sunflower close-up.
Sometimes we just need to make the call. Yes, the sunflower is looking good. Thanks Amy. 🙂
Very clever and fun – thank you! Delicious close-up of the sunflower.
Thanks. Good ol’ Sunflower. She came out on the wrong side of the judge’s decision, but she sure has been popular with the readers. I’m glad you like it. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂
Thank you very much. And thanks for following the blog. See you around. 🙂
Thanks a lot. I appreciate the comment. Great name, by the way. 🙂
Yes. I agree.
I enjoyed this fun story, Jim; with exquisite photos, your breathtaking garden, and glorious case findings. 🙂
Hi Jet. I literally laughed out loud when I read your comment. Glorious case findings, indeed! Have a great day. 🙂
Beautiful photos and an entertaining story to go with them. Thanks, I really enjoyed reading this 🙂
Oh great! Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed it. Some of my stories are a little long compared to other garden blogs, so I am always glad to have positive feedback. I really appreciate it. 🙂
Truly wonderful post. Beautiful, beautiful photographs.
Thanks! Thanks for reading it, thanks for appreciating it and thanks for letting me know. It is most encouraging. Have a great day today! Tomorrow too, but today is today! Cheers. 🙂
This was a really entertaining read! Very imaginative, I love it 🙂 I’ve been learning wildlands plants this semester and Liatris punctata was one of my favorites.
Thanks! It was fun to write and remains one of my favorite posts. This is, I believe, Liatris Spicata. It is extremely popular with the little white cabbage butterflies. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.
Oh! I realized too late that you called them something different. They may have recently changed the scientific name or they are separate variations, but they look like the same beautiful blooms that grow here. Thank you, and I hope you have a pleasant day yourself 🙂
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