Good advice from Verdun there (welcome back by the way! )
There is still plenty of growing time left this year and you may find that by cutting the stem it sends up new shoots from the remaining leaf joints so you could end up with a shorter but multi-headed sunflower.
I agree with Ladybird and think this is because they still establishing roots and can't support more leaves which is why the new growth is dying off. Large hawthorn take much longer to establish than small ones. They need to be watered at least once a week (and even every day during hot weather) throughout their first year. I think you'll see them pick up next spring and start to grow normally.
To be fair, strawberry seeds are not that easy to germinate and the fat hen seeds may have been in the compost, so it may not be the GCs fault.
Remember that they need shade in the summer too. When I was much younger and knew little about gardening I planted some in my sun-baked front garden and although they came up in late winter, the following year precisely one reappeared! The ideal position is under deciduous trees although I've seen them growing very happily under yew trees.
They look very much like Chenopodium album (aka fat hen & goosefoot amongst others.) It's a weed which seeds exteremely freely (thousands from one plant) although it is grown as a food in India. Not strawberries, unfortunately.
It's not advisable to raise the soil level around a tree b25. Trees need air to the roots near the surface and it can also lead to fungal infection of the bark and lead to the death of the tree. Have a look at this link:
I grew mine on in pots for over 2 years, repotting annually and only planted out the larger ones this spring which were about 40cm tall and had roughly a dozen leaves. I honestly don't think they would have survived had I planted them out any younger and it may have been impossible to distinguish them from grass. I didn't lose any of them after repotting although one or two of the weaker ones lost their leaves in the first winter but the bulbs re-sprouted in the spring although they are still growing weakly.
Nitrogen is their main nutritional requirement.
Eggs of the Tomato moth (Bright-line, Brown-eye moth) I think allson. They can devastate a tomato crop so, although I generally go with a 'live and let live' attitude in the garden, I have suffered from bad infestations of this so would get rid.
Last edited: 15 July 2016 18:03:02
There are some orange crocosmias. Also californian poppy, hemerocallis (day lily) and agastache 'apricot sunrise' immediately come to mind.