Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Photo by: Stig Nygaard
My grandfather’s sister taught me how to draw flowers. She also taught me how to appreciate flowers, even the flowers that most people call weeds – like dandelions and clover. I can still see her cupping a dandelion in her hand and saying, “Now, isn’t that just beautiful.”

Her name was Lilly, but all of us kids called her “Nanny.”

Nanny loved ALL flowers, but she did have a favorite, which would become my favorite flower, too.

Nanny with a very young Professor Watermelon

Nanny believed that everyone with a yard should plant at least one sunflower a year. For most of my adult life, I have lived in an apartment, but I still buy sunflower seeds every year and give them to my students.

Creative Writers, we’ve found our MUSE! Let’s take a closer look at this garden majesty and see what we can learn.

Sunflowers grow very tall. Normally they reach 5 to 12 feet, but some grow even taller than that. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest recorded sunflower grew 27 feet. This giant was grown in Germany in 2012.

Sunflowers are an American plant. Native Americans harvested sunflowers thousands of years ago. Today, sunflowers are still harvested here in America. Take a look at this video and see how sunflowers are farmed in North Dakota.

While sunflowers may be native to the Americas, they are now grown all over the world. In fact, Russia grows more sunflowers than any other country. Maybe that is why the sunflower is Russia’s national flower.

As you noticed in the video, farmers grow sunflowers for their seeds. One sunflower head can produce over 2,000 seeds. These seeds are used mostly for making sunflower oil, but the rest are eaten by people and… BIRDS!

Take a look at this video of some birds nibbling away at some wild sunflower heads.

Sunflower seeds are also ground into delicious sun-butter. For those of you who are allergic to peanut butter, sun-butter is a tasty alterative.

Growing sunflowers are very easy. Just follow the directions on the back of the seed packet, and you will do just fine. If you would like to see a video on planting sunflowers, I have provided one for you below…

Sunflowers grow very quickly. And when they form a flower bud, watch how it follows the sun in the sky. This is called heliotropism. Once the bud blooms, the sunflower stops following the sun, leaving its blossom facing the East.
"Sunflower" by Professor Watermelon
Like I mentioned before, Nanny taught me how to draw all kinds of different flowers. This is something I still do to this day. Here is picture of a sunflower I drew this morning.

With that new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these “what if” questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF Jack planted a magic sunflower seed instead of a magic bean?

WHAT IF found crop circles were found in Russia’s sunflower fields?

WHAT IF little elves built a city in your main character’s sunflower garden?

The possibilities are endless! And please leave your own “WHAT IF” questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a piece of paper and a pencil, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere! I look forward to seeing where you take us!

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

P.S. The word of the week is "Heliotropism". Here is the definition: The growth of plants or plant parts (especially flowers) in response to the stimulus of sunlight, so that they turn to face the sun.


  1. What if a sunflower grew as tall as the Empire State Building?

    Prof. Watermelon

  2. What if a sunflower could talk?
    What if a sunflower could fly?
    What if a sunflower became best friends with a jumping bean?
    What if a sunflower produced gold instead of sunflower seeds?
    What if a sunflower learned to cook?
    What if a sunflower learned to write?
    What if a sunflower learned to draw pictures?
    What if a sunflower learned to read?
    What if a sunflower learned to make a bookworm?
    What if a sunflower started and played in an orchestra?
    What if a sunflower learned to paint a house?
    What if a sunflower made a marble?
    What if a sunflower learned to play the piano?
    What if a sunflower taught a classroom?
    What if a sunflower became a astronomer?
    What if a sunflower became a baker?
    What if a sunflower became a planet?

  3. 1) What if there was a magical sunflower seed?

    2) What if there were little animals that lived inside of the head of a sunflower?

    3) What if the bees that pollinated the flowers could turn them into lollipops?

    4) What if people turned into and extraterrestrial sunflowers when they ate sunflower seeds?

    5) What if the sunflower had magical properties?

    6) What if people lived in sunflower houses?

    7) What if there were sunflower's that wrote stories?

    8) What if a sunflower had a blog?

    9) What if people lived in the stems of sunflowers.

    10) What if people had sunflower's for heads?

    11) What if sunflowers were made of gold?

    12) What if sunflowers reached up all the way to the sun.

    13) What if genies lived in sunflowers?

    14) What if if you ate sunflower seeds you would become magical?

    15) What if dead sunflowers came back to life?

    16) What if we ate sunflower salad?

    17) What if sunflowers were made of silver?

    18) What if sunflowers could read and write?

    19) What if sunflowers went to school?

    20) What if sunflowers could count?

    Ms. Math

  4. 1.What if sunflowers can grant wishes?
    2.What if sunflowers could write stories?
    3.What if sunflowers could talk?
    4.What if sunflowers can play?
    5.What if sunflowers could have a job?
    6.What if sunflowers could go to school?
    7.What if sunflowers could sing?
    8.What if sunflowers could run?
    9.What if sunflower could play an instrument?
    10.What if sunflowers could predict the future?
    11.What if sunflowers had magical powers?
    12.What if sunflowers could cook?
    13.What if sunflowers could drive?
    14.What if sunflowers could grow 100ft tall?
    15.What if sunflowers had their own sunflower town?
    16.What if sunflowers were the president?
    17.What if sunflowers were a god?
    18.What if sunflowers could create things.
    19.What if sunflowers could fix anything in the world?
    20.What if sunflowers could walk?

    -Queen Puppy Lover

  5. What if the sunflower had a crown?

    What if the sunflower slept in a human-sized bed?

    What if the sunflower had baby sunflowers?

    Violin girl

  6. 1.WHAT IF the sunflower was the sun that would keep every living thing alive.

    2.WHAT IF the sunflower was the only colorful object in the world and everything else was black.

    3.WHAT IF the sunflower died and that made everyone sad.

    4.WHAT IF the sunflower had a river of seeds flowing out of it like a waterfall.

    5.WHAT IF the sunflower held all of the power of the world.

    6.WHAT IF the largest sunflower shrunk to be 1 millimeter.

    7.WHAT IF the sunflower was a teleported people where ever it wanted.

    8.WHAT IF the sunflower could make anything talk.

    9.WHAT IF the sunflower could make people dance.

    10.WHAT IF the sunflower could make things prettier.


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    1. Michaelangelo's sunflowers

      1-What if sunflowers could talk?
      2-What if sunflowers could water ski?
      3-What if sunflowers had mustaches?
      4-What if sunflowers could eat popcorn?
      5- What if sunflowers could make watermelon?
      6- What if sunflowers could grow 13 feet tall?
      7- What if sunflowers could fight each other?
      8- What if sunflowers could walk?
      9- What if sunflowers had legs?
      10- What if sunflowers could grow into a sunflower in one day?
      11- What if sunflowers could live to be 100 years old?
      12- What if sunflowers could eat spiders?
      13- What if sunflowers could grow in toilets?
      14- What if sunflowers could grow to the top of the clouds?
      15- What if sunflowers could squirt water?
      16- What if sunflowers could wear clothes?
      17- What if sunflowers were blue?
      18- What if sunflowers did not like the sun?
      19- What if sunflowers did not have seeds?
      20- What if sunflowers grew on the moon?

  8. What if sun flowers could talk?
    What if sun flowers could grow into a soup bar?
    What if sun flowers grew a beard?
    what if a sunflowers could grow on Mars?
    What if sun flowers were red?
    What if sun flowers were robots?
    What if sunflowers were Legos ?
    What if sun flowers were a credit card?
    What if sunflowers were clouds ?