I don't plant sunflowers anymore. I don't plant morning glories, either.
They are weeds.
I pull them out and pull them out and pull them out. I let some grow. A very few, select plants that happen to have decided to grow where, in theory, they won't interfere with the things I've planted.
And still, my garden is overrun with them. The morning glories are growing up the fence and look lovely, but they're also entangling themselves around my cabbages and tomatoes and are hopelessly twisted up with the sweet potato vines.
Nathan hates this.
I... I don't really mind. Yes, the garden is a tangled jungle that I can hardly walk through. But it's August. Isn't that how a garden is supposed to be in August? Besides, the jungle nature is more due to my negligence (Weeds? What, those weeds? All those weeds? Can't see 'em.) and close planting in my small space. The Teenage Mutant Flower Weeds are only a small part of the problem.
When I say "mutant", I'm not even kidding. They've been breeding themselves into quite an interesting conglomeration over the years.
I've planted quite a few different varieties of sunflower in the past. I had some "Giant Grey Stripe" one year that was very big and tall with a single flower head on top. That was a utilitarian seed variety, but I've also had various ornamentals-- multi-heading cutting sunflowers bred for their pretty colors. So the upshot is that now all the volunteers that I get are some combination of those. Most of them are GIGANTIC plants covered in a half million small blooms. (Here's a little blast from the past for you: read about My Giant, the monster we grew a few years ago.)
There are also some that are ringed with red and brown:
And some with longer petals and yellow centers, instead of black like the others.
And then the true mutants, bizarre Siamese twin sunflowers:
So anyway, I had no choice today but to hack at 'em. Some of my precious vegetables were just getting too much shade from these giants (12 feet high and 5 feet wide for one plant is just too much.)
So a select few got hacked, either taken out completely, or just thinned considerably.
The goats were overjoyed.
And in looking out at the garden, I can't even tell they're missing. But there is definitely a little more light coming in where I need it.
The morning glories are a different story. I have to pull them while they're small, or they get all tangled up and I can't remove them so well. I've tried introducing other colors, but they always come back as these standard blue things, hardy as heck and very tenacious. I can hardly get the other colors to grow, much less intermingle with the natives.
But oh well. They sure are pretty.
(With apologies to my long-suffering husband.)