Can you spot the editor? Thanks to a wall of sunflowers (and her sunhat!), probably not – but she’s there!

It’s official, my sunflowers are now taller than I am (which, I have to admit, isn’t saying much). Still, I’m very proud of them, especially since much of the rest of my garden is suffering.

My Shasta daisies are once again this year covered with aphids, despite ladybugs, blasts from the hose, and insecticidal soap. The blooms are starting to brown and wither; whether it’s from the aphids, the ants that follow them faithfully, or the all-out attempts at cure I do not know. My neighbours enjoy cheerful, unblemished daisies with nary a bug; mine look like refugees from a biblical plague of locusts.

My clematises (clamati?) are, save one, stubbornly refusing to flower. One is brown with a few straggly green leaves; no, it’s roots are NOT in the shade as prescribed by garden books everywhere, but even when its roots WERE carefully put in the shadows last year it didn’t behave any better, so to heck with it. Another is a standard jackmanii, but ever since I bought it it has refused to bloom, and though it looks healthy enough it only grows teeny-tiny leaves, as if it drank something from Alice in Wonderland (or was it eating something that made her shrink?)

My zucchini are doing better than last year (escaped blossom-end rot), but the leaves on the golden zuke are starting to brown. I have at least managed to harvest some in the meantime in case the symptoms are terminal.

You can see why I am glad to have a wall of sunflowers growing right out front, to distract passers-by from these horticultural disasters. Along with the LynnValleyLife seeds we handed out, I threw in some Russian Giant sunflowers, but it’s hard to tell at this point who is who. They have required very little TLC, and are loving this amazing sunny weather.

Since planting this perennial a couple of years back, I have learned why this wildly spreading plant is called a “loosestrife.”

The other plants in my garden that are noticeably running riot are raspberries (Lynn Valley was once the raspberry-growing capital of North America, true story!), ever-spreading mint, a great huge lemon balm plant I grew from seed and is now taking over the backyard, aggressive (but pretty) gooseneck loosestrife, and the cheerful yellow buttercup (OK, I deeply resent its evil creeping dominion over my garden, but as it’s clearly going to win – I do have to sleep sometime, after all – I had better stay on its good side). The foxglove were also wonderful this year, no doubt because they were planted and maintained by nature, not me.

So enough about me. How is your Lynn Valley garden coming along, most especially those community-minded sunflowers? Do you think you’re in the running for the tallest, most, or largest? Watch our blog for the official call-out later this summer – and if you’d like to put your flower forward, please put out the word to our judges! We’ll be collecting information from all contenders by the last day of this month.

We’ve just learned that Mollie Nye House is celebrating its centennial year with a community fall fair on Saturday, September 21. Why not see what other garden or kitchen or craft creations you might put forward for possible fame and glory? Click here to learn more about the fair, and see all the categories on offer. I wonder if I can win any prizes with a raspberry-mint-lemon balm tea? With a buttercup garnish?

 – Peggy Trendell-Jensen