A sunflower forest grows in Menlo Park

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on July 18, 2017

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There are sunflowers — and then there is the sunflower forest in Art Scott and Cindy Sumida-Scott’s Menlo Park backyard.

First came the work of local landscape designer Janet Bell, who redid the yard. At that project’s conclusion, the couple sent cards to the various workers, expressing “this beautiful garden representing the analemma [sun’s path] will save water and be friendly to bees, birds and butterflies.”

Earlier this year, Art and Cindy planted five varieties of sunflowers in the garden’s center from seeds purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Art attributes the amazing result to part art and part science.

“For us, it’s important to pass on the Aloha spirit,” he said, himself  both artist and scientist. “So kids come over and wander around and so do the neighbors.

“And when I get too deep in thought, I go to the garden and walk around. It’s a way to balance.”

Cindy said without Art, there would be neither the analemma design nor the sunflowers. “We used to sit and imagine how we could transform the backyard,” she said. “Art wanted a place where he could walk safely, where we both could stop and look around and enjoy without any sharp corners.

“Gradually the analemma idea came into being. That configuration would not exist without Art’s mind. Janet’s landscape design shows it off perfectly.”

The couple look at this year’s sunflowers as an experiment and say they’ll probably plant fewer next year. Meanwhile they are taking in not only the visual pleasure of their garden but also the sounds. “The birds are visiting like a whole circus came to town,” said Art.

And of course, what would a sunflower garden be without a sundial, which, Art points out is, on nature not daylight savings time.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen Flood July 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

stunning!! You have brought Florida into Menlo!!!

(I was growing up in Menlo til I was 21 – then moved to San Jose, and after going on Disability (Epilepsy) at 35 – I moved to Florida at 39! Definitely a new experience on this side of the states – but kinda neat! And the gardens and flowers that are here are gorgeous! But so much sun and water – its a given!!
(its mid july – Todays forecast 90 degrees all day – sunshine – rain around 4pm!) And this seems the norm!! weird to the west coast gal – but I am starting to enjoy! (Thunder and lightning used to scare me lots – but so often here – its becoming a typical weather! LOL!)

Colleen

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Emily August 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm

What a gorgeous backyard they have created! The sunflowers truly shine and it reminds me of who planted them. Art and Cindy bring such joy to the lives of all who meet them. I am truly blessed to know them. They even brought the sunflowers to my backyard where we have two flowers blooming and hoping for a few more!

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