Record-breaking prize money from T&M to northern gardener
Now there are some whoppers – sunflowers taller than a three-storey house!
Gardener Richard Hope, from Wigan, has won £2,000 following a hunt by Thompson & Morgan (T&M) for the UK’s tallest specimen, to see if a world record could be brought to the UK.
T&M pledged to pay out not only £1,000 for the UK’s loftiest example but to double the prize money if the gardener used its incredibloom® fertiliser. If the sunflower were to beat the world record, the prize would double to £4,000!
There were some stand-out specimens between 12-14ft (3.7-4.3m), but the clear winner – at 26ft 5inches (8.04m) – was grown by Richard, who also won the competition last year with his 24ft (7.2m) sunflower.
Giant veg growing circuit
He is well-known on the giant veg growing circuit, having held previous world records for the biggest swede, heaviest leek, and longest parsnip.
Last year, he grew his flowers against a sunny wall of his house, where his giant plants reach the apex of the roof three storeys up. This year, growing his plants in the same position, his winning entry was taller than the top of his roof!
Sadly, his giant entry was shy of the world record by 3ft 8in (1.1m), but Mr Hope still has his sights on beating the 30ft 1in (9.14m)) sunflower grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer of Kaarst-Vorst, Germany in 2014.
Richard said: “It takes complete dedication from beginning to end. It’s best to grow your plants up a south-facing structure, like a tall wall; something you can put a ladder against.
“I’ve had the best sunflowers I’ve ever grown this year and the only thing I’ve done differently is to use the incredicompost® with the incredibloom® fertiliser.
“I always use seed from the previous year’s tallest sunflower; I start them off in the greenhouse and then repot them on into bigger pots until there’s no likelihood of more frosts, then I plant them outside”.
Further top tips from Richard for growing a super sunflower can be found on the T&M website, www.thompson-morgan.com\sunflowertips.