• Denise Walden

Sunny Side of Sunflowers


The sunflower - the rustic, classic-form flower rich in history and symbolism - is an excellent selection in floral arrangements and weddings for today's modern taste. Coupled with a variety of foliages, such as salal and the many eucalyptus varieties, it is a beautiful statement flower. Queen Anne's Lace, solidago, delphinium, hydrangeas, and dahlias are among the blooms that complement this radiant flower.


Van Gogh found this unique and interesting flower so inspiring that he created at least 5 elegant masterpieces in homage. Van Gogh believed sunflowers communicated gratitude.


One hundred years ago this August, women won the right to vote in the US; not granted or given the right to vote, but hard-won the right after over 70 years of campaigning and fighting for it.


Crazy, huh? I've taken the right to vote so much for granted, that when I think about it, my grandmothers were not born into an era when US women had the opportunity. My mother was born only 11 years after the ratification.


I try to imagine the social climate of the times and wonder what emotional, economic, political, and family value influences contributed to the resistance of women voting. The Civil War had only been over for 55 years. It was the period of industrialization, immigration, electricity, and automobiles in our country. I keep an old iron, the kind that was heated on a wood burning stove, as a reminder of what housekeeping chores were like last century. Yikes.


Although the movement from farm to city was increasing during the early part of last century, the population of the US was less than a third of what it is today. Farms, fields and woodlands were prevalent and the wild sunflower was very much a part of the American landscape.

In Kansas, during the early women's right to vote movement, the sunflower was chosen in 1867 as the symbol of women's suffrage. It was adopted as the Kansas state flower in 1903. The messenger of gratitude.


So, this November when you go to the polls to vote, think of this striking flower and all that it might symbolize for you. You might even elect to give a bouquet of sunflowers to a special gal pal in celebration of her 100-year anniversary of her right to go to the polls in the first place.


Flowers for Life. May you grow and bloom.

Do you have a favorite story about sunflowers, gratitude or voting? We'd love to hear your story. Tell us here or leave a comment below.

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