#1     I am the sort of person that needs to be around plants and flowers and bugs and birds and stuff like that.

At my last house, even though it was a rental, we put in a small native garden. When I would come home from work I would head out the garden just to deadhead flowers or see what new bugs had come by to visit. It was soothing and inspiring.

#2     Sunflowers make me smile.

#3  If I can’t have sunflowers outside, I want them inside.

#4  But sometimes I CAN have them outside.

I have been patient, waiting this first year in the house as we learned what we did and didn’t want in a garden. We’ve done the prep work, ripping out everything in the backyard save one tree and the lawn and the lawn will be gone too. But I missed flowers. The birds were coming to visit. But all we had growing in the yard was a Japanese maple that, while lovely, had no flowers. While the garden I am designing will be filled with many natives that will flower I didn’t want to plant them now because we still have to take up the lawn and the concrete and do some more prep work. So I decided I could have just a few sunflowers out back. I picked up 4 plants in the little 4″ pots but the sunflowers were already over a foot tall. I planted them out back, near the bird bath. They all had flowers about to open. The second day, one flower opened and one of the local hummingbirds came to visit. (Hey, it was the first time I had something new to offer him besides the bugs on the maple tree.) I was thrilled.

The next day I opened the blinds, looked out back hoping to see a little hummer darting around or at least a smiling sunflower face beaming back at me.

Instead I see this.

That would be just a stem of what used to be a sunflower. One of the four flowers were gone. And I don’t mean broken off and sitting in the dirt which was my first thought. I figured a bird or squirrel had landed on them, broken it and that we’d fine the flowers in the dirt. Nope. We looked all over the yard (which, remember, has been stripped of everything but the one tree and the lawn. There’s just dirt.) There was no flower in sight. There were no seeds in the flower yet but we finally decided that a squirrel must have carried them off. There was no other explantion.

Or was there?

The next day when I was at work my husband was working from home. He sent me a text message that said “I know the creature that is eating your sunflowers.”

Of course I had to call him right away to find the answer to our mystery. He said we had lost another flower but that he caught the criminal in the act.

#5  Dogs will eat anything, even entire sunflowers.

Yes, my picky eater dog was the one who calmed ate an entire sunflower and then, went back for more.

Sigh. I still have two left but I don’t know for how long.