Flower of the week: Teddy Bear sunflower

freshly cut flowers in the box this week

Defy this September gloom with the sunniest freshly cut flowers you can get your green fingered mitts on. Yes you guessed it. It’s time for sunflowers. Not just your average sunflowers though; 3 different types all with something to sing about it. Let’s hear it then.

 

Freshly cut flowers that are sweeter than sunshine

What’s soft and cuddly? A toy? A dog? But we’re talking about flowers, surely. I dare you not to grin until your cheeks hurt when you see our flower of the week; the Teddy Bear sunflower.

freshly cut flowers. Teddy Bear sunflowers this week!

Quite fittingly, a Teddy Bear sunflower is also known as a Sungold Dwarf. It resembles the Sun, it’s golden in colour and it’s the shortest of the lot.

The Teddy Bear, along with green centred and helianthus sunflowers you’ll spot in our box, are native to North America. But sunflowers have spread their seed all over the globe as they are durable, beautiful and bountiful. Their seeds and oil can be used in a multitude of ways.

a field of sunflowers
Image Credit

To put it simply, the world loves sunflowers and I do too.

 

A little heads up (sunwards) from Henry

Henry Robinson grows some of our sunflowers. Here’s a little info for you, our lovely readers, so you can get to know our sunny Lincolnshire roots. 

Teddybear sunflowers in the Freddie's Flowers box
Image Credit

Q: So what’s the story behind Henry’s flower fields?

A: It’s Henry, his brother Charles and his dad, Richard, at the forefront. Henry and Charles are the 6th generation flower farmers. The Robinson’s started way back in 1860. That’s a long old time ago. 

Q: What was the first flower they grew back then?

A: Snowdrops!

Q: When did sunflowers grace their fields?

A: They started growing helianthus (the black centred blooms) in 1999 and now have 440 acres of sunflowers.

Q: So the green centred and Teddy Bear varieties are more recent?

A: Yes. They started growing Teddy Bear sunflowers five years ago and began with the green centred flowers four years ago.

Q: If they’re not harvested, do the sunflowers produce edible seeds?

A: Actually no. These sunflowers are sterile so they don’t produce seeds.

Q: Okay, this has bothered me forever and it seems everyone has a different opinion. I feel that, as they have 440 acres of them Henry, Charles and Richard will know the real answer: do sunflowers follow the sun?

A: Yes! They do! 

Q: And finally, what is Henry’s favourite flower?

A: It’s the Teddy Bear sunflower, of course!

 

Well isn’t that just a charming coincidence.

 

The tale of the Teddy Bear 

The Teddy Bear sunflower is named as such simply because of it’s adorable, huggable presence, just like a teddy. Whilst cuddly toy bears have been around a while, the Teddy Bear as it’s known today has a story of its own. Leaving flowers for a moment, can you guess who officially named the ‘Teddy Bear’?

Theodore Roosevelt aka. Teddy Roosevelt! Now that makes a barrel (bear-al?) load of sense.

The original Teddy Bear made in 1902. Image Credit
The original Teddy Bear made in 1902. Image Credit

The story goes that, in 1902, whilst on a mission to clear up a messy dispute on the Mississippi and Louisiana border, Roosevelt embarked on a bear hunt. As you do. Roosevelt discovered the pursued and wounded bear in a desperate state. Instead of glorifying himself, he ordered the bear to be put out of its misery.

Clifford K. Berryman's fast spreading sketch. Image Credit
Clifford K. Berryman’s fast spreading sketch. Image Credit

Unsurprisingly, the merciful story caught on. A news cartoonist publicised the doings by drawing a picture of a cuddly cub as opposed to a big scary bear. Roosevelt was then asked be the namesake of the new ‘Teddy Bear’ in production off the back of the story!

 

All hail the helianthus 

Undoubtedly the most popular sunflower. They’re certainly the ones you see hanging over your neighbours fence, fit to bursting with seeds at this time of year.  

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But why are they so popular? Is it Van Gogh’s doing? Well, now you know more about the Teddy Bear variety, maybe you’ll notice that there’s almost an equal number of Teddy Bears to helianthus in the vase!

Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' Painting
Vincent van Gogh,
Sunflowers, 1888. Image Credit

 

Colour combinations and curations for the nation

Now we’ve always prided ourselves on bringing freshly cut flowers that pack a punch and make a statement. So what’s so great about our sunflower arrangement? The fact that we’ve paired them with crocosmia and alstroemeria.

Freshy cut flowers in the Freddie's Flowers box this week

Alstroemeria come in almost every colour under the sun and that’s exactly why we love them so much; they’re versatile. Our favourite alstroemeria moment was when we had the exclusive ballet variety in our boxes.

Alstroemeria at Freddie's Flowers
A bucket load of alstroemeria

Joining our orangey-pinky-yellowy-reddy alstroes are the lovely leafy crocosmia. Crocosmia have a habit of popping up all over the countryside in the U.K. Have you spotted any recently?

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It’s an unlikely coming together of freshly cut flowers. Crocosmia have small, regimented yet delicate flowers (that look like mini alstroes when they open). Their leaves, in contrast, are sharply formed like swords. Alstroemeria, with their black flicks on the petals, always catch the eye and our three varieties of sunflowers are undeniably bold and very demanding.

So why does it work? Because the colours are a match made in heaven! The colour variation of yellow and orange in the alstroemeria, the deep burnt orange of crocosmia and yellower than yellow sunflowers are a combination that we’ll see the potential in. 

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We like to think that Van Gogh would approve.

 

Need a little help bringing the sunshine inside? Have a little look at how to arrange this week’s freshly cut flowers!

 

Itching to embark on another Summer holiday but don’t have the time or money? Get yourself on board the Teddy Bear Sunflower express for only £24 a pop!

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