The Great Sunflower Project ~ Hobby Farm Home May/June 2009

I received the May/June 2009 Hobby Farm Home magazine yesterday…and by last night it looked like it was read by 20 people in a doctors office. 🙂 Just love that magazine!

On page 38 in Garden Grit by Susan M. Brackney there is a tidbit on GREAT SUNFLOWER PROJECT ~

Sunflower from my front yard, Sparks NV, 2008 ~ these wee ones were sleeping in the flower. 🙂

You’ve probably heard that our Honey bees, bumblebees and other natural pollinators are dying back, but thanks to the Great Sunflower Project, we can all help these insects – and the researchers who study them.

Volunteers are asked to plant sunflowers and then count the number of bees it attracts in a half hour or less twice a month. The goal is 5 bees during that time setting.

The sunflower that they are suggesting is the LEMON QUEEN (an American Natitve flower) ~ you need a sunflower that has POLLEN…and because people don’t like the pollen on their cut flowers, some sunflowers have been altered to be pollen-free. 😦

Pollen is critical for new bees so the Lemon Queen has been picked as the sunflower of choice. They are protein-packed and can be grown in your garden or pots…it will produce multiple, lemon-yellow blossoms all summer long so bees can be counted for many months.

Ultimatley, researchers hope to pinpoint geographic regions in which bees are most scarce, so participants without any bee visitors on their sunflowers will supply the most important data of all.

To donate or sign up for the free program, visit, while supplies last, a packet of Lemon Queen seeds will be sent to you. But you can always buy them at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( and Gurney's Seed & Nursery ( ~ Here is a list from the Project Site itself.

I’m going to look around the Reno/Sparks area to see who carries them locally. NOTE: If you’re in the Sparks/Reno area…the Sparks Lowe’s has the Lemon Queen seed packets!

5 thoughts on “The Great Sunflower Project ~ Hobby Farm Home May/June 2009

  1. Saw a bumbel bee in one of my crocus this weekend. Made my jump for joy. Sure has been a long time since I’ve see something other than wasps.

  2. Thanks for having this site available. I am making an effort to alert gardeners to the ever increasing number of pollenless sunflowers, the seeds for which are in the marketplace this season. I was purchasing seeds from Johnny’s Seeds for our food co-op and noted that of the 44 lines they offer, 27 are pollenless and another 8 have minimal or scant pollen. Speaking with the sales staff, I was told that this is what the commercial florists are asking to be developed. Yes, they are beautiful. No they do not provide an important protein source, pollen, for pollinators. Please take a look. This is what I found in multiple catalogs as they all share similar sources for repackaged product.
    And yes, Lemon Queen is great. Thanks for providing a source for seed.

  3. Thank you Nikki!

    Most of the time, birds plant my sunflowers ~ so I have no control over what is popping up all over my yard. Luckily…they are loaded with pollen! LOL!

    This year I planted the Lemon Queen all over the front yard…hopefully the jays and quail left them alone.

  4. Hey, Dutchess! My sister, up at the north end of Sun Valley, was in her yard pruning last weekend when a Bumble came out from the sand! I didn’t know that they hibernated that way!

    Scared her at first, she thought a big beetle was coming out.

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