A sunflower house or little hut transforms your garden into a wonderland for children and adults to enjoy. It creates a private space, perfect for afternoon naps or reading a favorite book. And, of course, provides a great hiding spot during garden hide and seek! Creating a sunflower hut is simple and easy for children to help. This is the first post of a series I am calling “creating a garden wonderland.” In the next few blog posts, I will teach you how to create a garden that engages children and excites the child within ourselves.
This project is perfect for early spring, after the last frost, when you are itching to go dig in the dirt!
First begin with buying the right sunflower seeds. To create a tall, private sunflower hut, choose seeds for sunflowers that grow 9-12 feet tall. Mammoth or California Greystripe sunflower seeds are good options
Next, gather your tools and supplies:
- Compost for fertilizer
Now… off to find the perfect spot! Look for a spot in your garden that is flat, has good soil, and receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunshine.
Once you have decided on your spot, think about what shape you will create for your sunflower hut. Circles and squares are the easiest, but you can really create any shape you imagine. Decide on how large you would like your sunflower hut to be. Also . . . very important . . . don’t forget to decide on where to place the opening for the door (about two feet)!
Next, put the stakes in the ground to map out the shape of the sunflower hunt. Tie the twine to one of the stakes and stretch it around the perimeter of the shape, leaving the opening for the door.
Dig out a strip of turf that’s at least 1 foot wide around the entire perimeter of your hut area and loosen the soil a bit in that strip. This is where you’ll plant your sunflower seeds after finishing a few more tasks.
To create a comfortable floor for your sunflower hut, unless the area you’ve chosen is on a nice piece of lawn, begin by clearing out rocks, weeds, and debris from inside the staked area. Using the hoe makes this job pretty easy. If you’d like to keep your hut “weed-free”, place a few layers of cardboard on the floor of the hut and cover with mulch. Another idea is to plant soothing herbs inside the perimeter of the sunflower hut, such as mint, lavender, or chamomile. This creates another sensory experience for the visitor to enjoy. Finally, to create the ultimate sunflower hut complete with a soft “carpet,” you can plant white clover by sprinkling seeds generously inside the hut. In a few weeks, a fluffy, comfy carpet will grow providing a perfect private space.
Now for the fun part…planting the sunflower seeds! With your trowel, and working in the strip of turf that you’ve dug around the perimeter of your hut area, dig a small hole about 1 inch deep, every foot around the strip. Place two seeds inside each hole and top with a handful of compost. Finish covering the seeds with the soil. Water seeds thoroughly with either a watering can or a sprayer nozzle on the gentle cycle and pat them down a bit (kids love to do this part) so that they do not wash away. It also helps to keep the birds from finding them!
Enjoy spending time in your special place! You will feel miles away from the world among the flowers!
For more ideas read Kym Pokorny’s “Grow a Sunflower House for Kids” article on Oregon Live.