Friday, August 26, 2011

"Ah Sunflower"

As summer wanes, sunflowers' bright smiles and ceaceless work is going to end this year.

Ah Sunflower

William Blake (1757-1827)

Ah, Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveler’s journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrounded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire;
Where my sunflower wished to go

Even when weary of time or buried in winter snow, sunflowers and we alike never cease to aspire for and strive for the sun or the life-giving source which is equally above us all.

I had longed to see a vast field of sunflowers, so I included a visit to the sunflower fields at Nanko-cho, Hyogo prefecture, in the itinerary when I had a trip to Ushimado (this post), Okayama prefectureThe flowering sunflowers in the fallow fields was a lovely view.   They are grown for sunflower seed oil.

I had thought their yellow faces followed the sun, but they somewhat looked down  smiling to the passers by.  I wondered why....maybe their heads were too big?

Then I understood: on sunny days buds of the sunflowers track the sun across the sky from east to west and by dawn they return to face eastward.   After the bud blossoms, the stem stiffens and the flower becomes fixed facing the same direction, mostly eastward.

Matured flowers work scattering the seeds from dawn to dusk to new life:  farmers know it.   Farmers have devoted themselves to take care of sunflowers and others despite the weather: sunflowers know it, too.  Both of them work silently and steadily as they have each other watching over and smiling at.

Some scinentists reported that sunflowers as well as rape blossoms decontaminate the radioactive contaminated soil.  Radioactive cesium is similar to kalium, a common fertilizer.  If kalium is not present, sunflowers will absorb cesium instead.  Not to disperse cesium by burning harvested sunflowers, special type of bacteria is considered to decompose the plants.  On the governmental side, this is in experimental process. This summer, sunflowers in plots are blooming to be examined in Fukushima.

On the other hand, some entreprnears have taken more active leadership.
Sunflower radiation absorption project  (Japanese here)
Fukushima Sunflower Foster-parent Project (Japanese here)

Some people cast a doubt about the effect, so I look forward to the result of the experiment.  When it turned out effective, more extensive operation will not only make the ground safe but also increase enployment and attract more tourists.  As the flower of hope, sunflower's selfless devotion to the mankind has been and will be really appreciated.


  1. Pole słonecznikowe i słoneczniki są cudne.To takie piękne słoneczka. Oby eksperyment się udał.Pozdrawiam

  2. Hello Yoko:
    This is, apart from the buildings which you show, so much like Hungary where sunflowers, grown too for the oil, are a major crop and where, during the summer months, their nodding heads can be seen for mile after mile as far as the eye can see. We love them, like you.

    Now, though, towards the end of August, they are past their best and ready for harvest. Some, indeed, have already gone.

    Have a lovely and restful weekend.

  3. As sunflowers have already been used for decontamination in the Ukraine after the Chernobyl incident, so there should already be lots of data about the effectiveness of sunflowers to remove radioactive caesium from soil.

    Also, although this experiment was broadcast in the news media in May, I have heard nothing about it since. I wonder what is going on?

  4. Stardust, good evening.

    Happy flower garden scenery.
    The heart of the audience will be healed with this cheer.

    The good weekend.

    Thank you.

  5. What a dazzling field of bright yellow faces you captured, stardust. I have noticed that the head of a sunflower bends down and I’ve assumed it’s because the heads are so heavy. But now I see there might be more to it than that. Also, the use of sunflowers to remove radioactive caesium from the soil is a fascinating idea. Your other commenter, Marc, has me curious about the Ukrainian experiment. It's something I hope to learn more about. :)

  6. What a beautiful post, what cheering pics... The sunflowers look magnificient, the fields are awesome...
    The post has certainly cheered me up, Thanks for sharing this Stardust.
    Have a wonderful weekend:)

  7. so beautiful. to see a whole field like that is just wonderful!

  8. Mark – I have the same question with you. Sometimes constructive ideas go nowhere. I wonder why?

  9. Beautiful pictures of sunflowers, it is interesting how they turn to face the sun and then if you view them from that position you are overwhelmed by these adorable yellow faces.

  10. The sunflower does bring forth feelings of warmth and happiness, just like the sun. I wish I had a field of them to view. In the past we have grown a few large ones over 6ft. tall. I have one empty seedhead hanging in a hallway of our home, it's dried body is still beautiful!

  11. Can you please sent us some sunshine. (You did with the picture's of the sunflowers. A weather alarm today here in Holland. We had winter, we had spring but somebody up there has forgotten to bring us summer. We ceep dreaming of it.
    Groetjes Marijke Holland

  12. Ah, my dear William Blake! I love his poetry.

    In Russia sunflowers are grown both for oil and for seeds that we fry and then enjoy, yum! In my grandparents' village sunflowers often would also grow along the roads and kitchen gardens amidst wild plants, seems they don't mind growing anywhere ^.^

    I tried to grow it from a seed, but slugs ate all sprouts :-(

    Thank you for this bright post, Yoko! Have a nice weekend.

  13. Hello Stardust! What a joy to see your pictures and read the details about these cheerful blooms! I've never been to a sunflower field...just saw them from a distance. I'd love to do that some day. Your photos are spectacular!!

  14. Sunflowers are extraordinary flowers. It's always amazing to see them follow the sun and it is quite a sight to see a field full of them. They produce seeds of course but I hadn't read that they could decontaminate radioactive soils! It is a fantastic discovery if the experiment proves successful! Thank you for this piece of information.
    A good week end to you :)

  15. yours are gorgeous yoko, i have never seen a big field of sunflowers like that.

    we will miss these moments when the snow starts falling!!

  16. Very nice photos, I love that beautiful field of sunflowers.

  17. I also heard it.That's a great idea.Hope this try will succeed.
    Nature things will help us although they sometimes get angry.

  18. I've never known that sunflowers turn to east during a night.
    About removing radioactive contaminated soil, I want to know the result of Chernobyl' experiment,too. But I hope this try succeed.
    Have a great days.

  19. I love to see sunflowers. They seem like such happy flowers with their bright yellow colour. I was interested to read about sunflowers being used to decontaminate the soil. I certainly hope this works!

  20. Sunflowers - they seem like happy flowers to me. Yellow, bright and happy :). I'd love to see a field of sunflowers - love your photos.

    Happy Weekend Yoko.

  21. Lovely photos,sunflowers always look so splendid en masse.The last photo reminds me of the south of France.Thanks for the links and information about the project,I hope it is given scope to expand.

    Enjoy your week Yoko!

  22. I have never seen such a massive sunflowersin person, but in a movie. Gazing them I thought about people who look forward the same direction.Sunflowers let me imagine humankind somehow.

  23. Yoko,I've left a reply on Return to Eden.

  24. What a beautiful sunny post and I am so glad I learned about the sun and the side the flowers bend.
    Have a nice week.

  25. I love the magic of sunflowers. In addition to making people happy with their beauty, they also can decontaminate radioactive soil. Amazing!

  26. Sunflowers: I love everything about them, the glorious golden fringes around darker, serious faces, the graceful movement throughout the day in the wake of sunlight and the lovely names. Sunflowers, what could be happier?

  27. It's like a place in a magical story! I always find something special in your posts.

  28. Those are beautiful, colorful photos - I've never seen a field of sunflowers like that. I hope the experiments work out.

  29. Hi Yoko!
    Ihe sunflower fields are so beautiful! They are such cheerful flowers Thanks for thinking baout me after hearing the news about the earthquake and hurricane that recently passed through my area. Thankfully I did not have any damage but sadly many did.

  30. Ah - the selfless and cheery sunflower! And such wonderful shots!

  31. "the glorious golden fringes around darker, serious face" said someone. what an tactfu expression!

    The close-up shot of it is so beautiful! I love that vivid lemon yellow with indigo blue background.
    I also hope its new mission will turn out to be successful.

  32. I like sunflowers too. It will be very exciting if they do have a role to play in decontamination. Maybe this will also remind people that there is a source of energy in the sun, safer than nuclear.

  33. Well, well, I have been to both of your cities : Kobe and Nara... where I have bautgh beatifull glass beads. The lady will came over here in october. I really look forworth
    Do you know kobe glass galery museun !!!
    Hello from Lausanne.

  34. How did I miss these sunflowers which bring a smile to my face? I was off-line for awhile, but am glad to see them now. In eastern CO, there are fields of sunflowers such as this. Your photos make me want to travel to see them in person.

  35. Thank you Yoko for the tip of the link! How similar did we post about sunflowers! Your photos are absolutely beautiful! The flower heads seem to be bigger than the kind we have here, with longer petals.
    Many sunny greetings to you! :-)

    1. I put a link to your post in my blog! :-)


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