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General view July 13, 2003Well, our field still appears to be in excellent shape and most of the plants are to ready to start flowering. The plants are over six feet tall now. I'm standing on a bucket to get above the heads.  We had a 1.19 inch rain on July 10th that came in handy.

Flower head openingThis plant is in the late R3 stage, almost at the R4 stage. In the R4 stage the bracts start opening and the yellow petals of the ray flowers can be seen.  It will only be a few days before we have some blooms.

Beneficial bugOn the backside of the flower head you can see the nice green color of the head and the bracts. The bracts are fleshy green leaves surrounding the head.  There's another beneficial insect wandering around looking for food.  

Flower heads facing eastThis picture is similar to the first photograph of the field. The reason I'm showing this one is the fact that now that the flower heads are just about ready to bloom the flower heads are facing east. Up until now the flower buds follow the sun through the day, which is a process called nutation. But when we get to this stage the heads lock on the sun in the east.  So, if you're ever lost and you run onto a field of sunflowers that are blooming or have already bloomed you will know which way is east!