We’re thrilled to welcome back the talented Holly Bryan of Holly Bryan Floral & Botanical Design for an absolutely gorgeous guest post about sunflowers.  

Sunflower blossoms range in size and color, bringing cheer whenever they open.


Even the grumpiest of old men will smile on the inside in the presence of sunflowers. These symbols of summer are guaranteed to make you think of warm weather, picnics, and casual outdoor entertaining. While they are certainly a staple in flower arrangements during the summer months, they are also extremely versatile and transition easily into fall.

Sunflowers are heliotropic in bud stage, meaning they track the sun through the sky from East to West, until the developed flower heads finally settle facing West. That is why you see all those amazing photos from the fields of Provence and Tuscany of a million glorious heads facing the same direction. In other words, they are living compasses!

Sunflowers follow the sun in their bud stage, forming a living compass.

It is impossible to ponder sunflowers, though, without paying homage to Vincent Van Gogh. His famous “Sunflower” series was painted during his time in Arles, France beginning in 1888. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly -invented pigments made new colors possible.


Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers get part of their radiance from newly-invented pigments adding to the possible spectrum of yellow available for artists’ use.
(Image: VanGoghGallery.com)

On a recent trip to my flower wholesaler, I was able to pick up several different varieties of sunflowers, several of which were grown locally. Sunsplash, Sunbeam, Teddy Bear, Sunbright, and Velvet Queen are just a few of the many varieties available. I find that Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market are a great source for these inexpensive, high-impact flowers. You never know what type you are going to get, but you can bet you will be delighted with the effect they have sitting in a vase in your family room!

The “Sunsplash” shows off a burnt orange center.


“Sunbeam” sunflower, characterized by neon green center


Sweet, fuzzy “Teddy Bear” Sunflower


Small “Sunbright” sunflower


Rich, purple-red “Velvet Queen” variety

I wanted to arrange all of the varieties I bought into one grand container to see how they played together, and I was pleased to see they got along quite well!

A wide variety of sunflowers join together for this arrangement.

To take it a step further, I added elements that I’ve collected or “harvested” from around Atlanta (so what if I keep a pair of clippers in my car?) — Lorapetalum, Nandina berries on the cusp of turning from green to red, Chaste Tree seed heads, and one of my favorites this time of year, Chinese Rain Tree seed heads.

Lorapetulum, Nandina berries, Chaste & Chinese RainTree seed heads transition late summer sunflowers into the beautiful harvest palette of early fall.


The arrangement fills out to further splendor with the addition of elements clipped around Atlanta.

Easy-going, casual sunflowers are appropriate all summer, through the fall, and all the way to your Thanksgiving table.


Thank you, Holly! Review Holly’s tips for basic floral arranging in StyleBlueprint’s Floral Arranging 101: Yes You Can!



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