“A sunflower field is like a sky with a thousand suns.”
A new dawn is rising over Centurion.
Turn your face toward the light and the shadows won’t bother you.
A Beacon of Hope
At the end of 2020, Dorette Jooste made a seemingly insignificant decision to sow sunflower seed outside, instead of inside her boundary wall. She did this simply as a small gesture of goodwill. This gesture was intended towards her street, her neighbours and perhaps anyone who would be driving past her house. “I have always loved sunflowers, and yellow is my favourite colour.”
An Outburst of Positivity
Ten weeks later in early 2021, the sunflowers started blooming. She was overwhelmed by the positive reaction from her community. “It was wonderful to see how something as basic as a sunflower can have such a huge impact on people. The seeds cost me nothing, and sunflowers are hardy flowers that don’t need pampering.” According to her, the sheer excitement of people who were seeing real, true sunflowers for the first time made her realise that we sometimes take things for granted.
More than Just a Sunflower
“These are not the small florist sunflowers that can be used as cut flowers. These are real sunflowers planted by farmers in fields, with huge flowering heads the size of side plates.” Dorette says that you can either remove the heads once the sunflower is finished flowering to save seeds for the next season. Or leave the heads on the plants for a while for birds to feast on.
She decided to expand her efforts once she realised how much joy her small patch of sunflowers was bringing. The next season she replanted even more sunflowers. She received a large donation of sunflower seeds. With the help of her family, she filled small bags and distributed sunflower seeds for free to anyone who was interested in joining her project. “I decided to call it ‘Sonneblomit’…like ‘Google-it’. By making it a verb we’re focussing on the positive action”. Dorette is thankful for the support of her family. And in particular her sister-in-law, without whom Sonneblom-it would not have been able to grow as it did. The project is now only in its first season but she hopes it will become a seasonal or annual part of the community.
Growing Good Vibes
“I gave away a lot of seed, in particular to schools and churches in the area. And many of these institutions took on the challenge in spectacular fashion. They took so much extra care and promoted the project in wonderful ways that I cannot take any credit for.”
Patience is Key
She thinks that there should be many people who have planted sunflowers for this flowering season. And she’s excited about seeing the bright yellow flowers spring up. “I planted my own seeds in October of last year and most are nearly done flowering now. However, many people only planted a bit later or are still planning on planting. So I’m looking forward to sunflowers around Centurion all the way until April!” Sunflowers take ten weeks to reach maturity and can be planted between October and mid-February.
Pay it Forward
Dorette is in no way a jealous watchdog over Sonneblom-it. She simply wants people to take the opportunity to bring a bright spot of joy into their communities by planting sunflowers anywhere around the country. “It’s absolutely just about paying it forward. I hope people take initiative to get their hands on seeds and plant sunflowers wherever they have a patch of land to do so.” She has two main goals she wishes to achieve through Sonneblom-it.
“My main goal is simply that these beautiful flowers should bring joy to someone’s life who sees an unexpected flash of bright yellow on their way to work or school. But through the process of planting, watching, and caring for your sunflowers, I also hope that it provides equally rewarding joy to the person planting the seeds.” According to Dorette, planting sunflowers is a practice in patience. The flowers aren’t tricky to grow, but they do take more than two months to reach maturity.
Only Joy on the Agenda
“The most important thing to remember about Sonneblom-it, is that you are planting it for someone else.” The flowers should be planted outside for the world to view, not inside your own garden, jealously hoarding their golden beauty for yourself. Dorette sees Sonneblom-it as a way to reach out to your neighbourhood and community. It’s a chance to spread joy without an agenda. According to her, no one simply drives by a sunflower without giving it a second glance. “I hope we can create even more awareness and spread the sunshine to other communities. Sunflowers are easy to grow and actually do their best when left alone.
Look at the fields of sunflowers on farms that thrive with just a bit of rainwater every now and then.” There’s nothing political about a sunflower. It doesn’t care who you are, what you have or what you do for a living. It simply, resolutely blooms every day, beaming out its brightest smile and hoping you return the favour.
Get in Contact
For more information or to be part of this growing project, contact Dorette Jooste on