tied up with string on the nature strip [sob]
Firstly, I was so proud of them - most grew bigger than me, and they fed bees with their pollen, then birds with their seeds (the birds would sit on top and swing upside down), then aphids, and by consequence, ladybirds. It seemed a waste to remove them while the leaves were still green, despite the fact that the flowers - the reason for planting them - were black. They also created some height in a garden that is filled with low (albeit growing) plants.
Frontyard sans sunflowers. It looks so bare!
I'm also ashamed to say that it had a little bit to do with the neighbour. He's nice, but he and his wife are the type that has a perfectly manicured yard, with hedges that have not a leaf out of place and cut with the assistance of a spirit measure, a weedless lawn, and grey painted concrete. He also has the unfortunate habit of giving me business cards of the local mowing company every time my grass dares to grow beyond 2cm high. As a result, when he suggested to me that it might be time to remove my sunflowers because the flowers were dead, I told him that I liked them like that, and that I had no intention of removing them. I also added that I liked the way that the aphids were attracting ladybirds to my garden.
In all reality, I'm not a annoying neighbour. For a Y-gen I'm pretty quiet - I don't listen to loud music until 4 in the morning, throw weekly parties, or let the weeds grow higher than my sunflowers; however, I take a rather organic approach to gardening and don't mind if I have natives mixed with cottage garden plants, or if trees grow larger than expected, or plants sprout in the wrong place. Letting the sunflowers live out their natural cycle was just an extension of this gardening philosophy.
in their prime (RIP)
I look forward to planting them again next spring. They're certainly amazing (even if ephemeral) additions to a garden.