By Sarah McClelland on behalf of SLH
This article was originally written for the September edition of Heatons Post, https://www.heatonspost.co.uk/
Wow! The Heatons’ community is a green fingered bunch! You all jumped at the chance of a sunflower growing competition and we are delighted to be able to confirm the results of the competition. There were three categories:
Most blooms on one stalk
For the first two we had a large number of people who submitted photos but were unable to provide exact measurements due to the height of the sunflowers. We therefore took a decision to put names in hat of everyone who grew a sunflower taller than 6 ft and again for anyone who grow a bloom larger than 30cm.
The winners are:
Tallest: The Ilyas family
The family told us: “We planted the sunflower seeds together as a family and the race was on to see who would grow the biggest. There was a healthy rivalry between our sons Abdur-Rahman and Iqra but we were just really happy that they grew so big and strong. It’s been really lovely seeing the sunflowers during Covid and lovely seeing the bees enjoying them too — it was a bonus that I could see them sitting on my office chair from my WFH desk and see them out the window at eye level! We’re now going to save some seeds from the flower heads for next year before our local squirrel who’s being enjoying the sunflowers also has it all his own way.
We took part as we’ve appreciated the beautiful green environment around Heaton Mersey and the river so much more during Covid and wanted to add something to it. It has been lovely to walk around and see community spirit, first it was the NHS rainbows and now it is the sunflowers.
Largest bloom: Theo
The winner of the largest bloom was Theo who grew this beauty. Theo’s mum said: “Theo loves the magic of seeing nature in action and how a little care makes something as small as a seed grow into something as spectacular as a sunflower.” Theo told us how he grew such a whooper; “I used my grandads homemade compost and dug the biggest hole I could with my favourite spade I usually use for making sandcastles on the beach. I made sure it was well watered and removed all the weeds. I couldn’t believe it when it grew so big and my grandad had to get step ladders for me to climb up to tie it to a cane. I couldn’t see my friends because of the lock down but I loved sending them regular pictures and updates.”
Most blooms on one stalk: James and his daughter Sophia
We were astounded to receive this photo of a sunflower with 16 (yes 16!!!) heads on it which was grown by James and his daughter Sophia. James told us:
“We loved participating as our girls both enjoyed watching them grow as did many of the locals and neighbours. Sophia really enjoyed sowing the seeds and planting out.
We definitely recommend a good sunny position and a hedge/bushes a little way in front seems to encourage them to reach up to get to the sunlight. My sister also has a large well rotted manure heap from her 2 horses Sherman & Monster; her manure is so much better than anything available in a bag from a large DIY chain!”
Thanks for the top tips James and Sophia!
An honorable mention must go to Pete Davies who sent us some gorgeous pictures of the sunflower he planted his when his son Logan was born. Peter explains:
“Logan was born at the end of March 2021, he’s a great kid who obviously we are crazy about. He gets around the local area with his mum already going to sensory classes, swimming and dancing although the latter is more for Jess. He has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum which is something around 1 in 3,000 people have or rather don’t have, without being too scientific he is missing a part of his brain which can cause all manner of issues but happy to report he’s doing superbly well partly due to the amount of socializing he does!
So we’ve got quite a “green” house, a lot of houseplants and I was straight onto the garden when we moved in. Jess bought a lot of leaf themed kids stuff as it’s good for kids development so Logan has been growing around that. Leaves and trees definitely relax him and when we are out and about he loves seeing greenery.
It obviously wasn’t the first thing done when he was born as we were busy with other things of course but not soon after they started their growth race with Logan, they shot up the last few months and as you can see from the pictures they have grown to a really good size.
It is our first kid so we’ve been creating a bunch of memories that he may not remember but we can show him one day. Moving to our house, making it look as good as we could before Logan was born and enjoying it with him have been really important so he will hopefully keep his love of the outdoors and remember his first giant sunflower!”