The Sunflower Show

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, September 17, 2020

There’s a show in Cochrane that’s all the buzz, attracting audiences arriving by foot and flight. Performing simultaneously at several venues, it’s The Sunflower Show. Let me tell you about my visit this past week with Glen McGlaughlin at his backyard garden “theatre” in West Terrace.

“Why so passionate about sunflowers?” I asked.

“As someone who grew up on a Saskatchewan farm,” Glen said, “you can’t help becoming hooked on growing things. My passion for growing sunflowers was sparked by being amazed how a plant could grow to 10 feet in height over a short span of 90 days.

“Now in my sixth season, I get as much pleasure watching visitors of all ages, including young families, enjoying these towering plants with their massive flowering yellow heads by taking photos of their progress throughout the summer.”

The show opens with the beaming 10-foot-tall star of the show stepping onto the stage looking like it’s sounding a trumpet to invite the fly-in bee participants to join the feature second act. And they do, landing on the blossom to carry out their role in pollination. The final act sees the sunflower bowing its head, shedding its petals, and preparing its seeds for passing on its legacy of loveliness to future generations.

With gratitude to Glen, I’d like to dedicate this column to the memory of two of our recently deceased readers: Helen Diemert, of North Dakota, Professor Emerita of Art Education, University of Calgary; and Martha Birkett, Cochrane horsewoman and promoter of soulish beauty.

About Martha’s funeral last week, her sister Debbie Vandelaar wrote me: “So many sunflowers were brought to the property after she had left us and I think it was because of the meaning they have of happiness and joy. That’s definitely her gift to all who met her.” And Martha’s legacy of sunflower loveliness certainly applies to Helen, too.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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