Sunflower Children's Hospice Trust | Tall Flowers for Short Lives
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Sunflower Children's Hospice Trust | Tall Flowers for Short Lives

Tall Flowers for Short Lives


In the Summer of 2016 a keen gardener in Lichfield, Staffordshire, grew an impressive crop of enormous sunflowers. Every day, one of our trustees used to drive past them on the way to work. They reminded him of Sunflower House and gave him an idea. He approached the gardener, who very kindly agreed to harvest and donate all of the seeds from his sunflowers.

We spent the first four months of 2017 packaging these seeds up and distributing them as far and wide as we could in the UK (and, where possible, beyond - see our map below!). We produced more than 3,000 packets, all put together by hand by one family, and all containing seeds from that one garden in Lichfield. Our aims were simple:
1) to get people growing sunflowers; and
2) to raise awareness of Sunflower Children's Hospice Trust.

We'll update this page with photos as our sunflowers grow, and give a small prize to the tallest one. And then, when the sunflowers die, we'll harvest as many of the seeds as we can and hopefully do this all again next year, with many more seeds.

 

 

 - The Lichfield garden from which all of our seeds came

The Lichfield garden from which all of our seeds came

 - Our homemade seed packets

Our homemade seed packets

 - The production process involved young and old

The production process involved young and old

 - We solicited some tips from the Lichfield gardener who inspired the whole project, and whose seeds we are all growing.

We solicited some tips from the Lichfield gardener who inspired the whole project, and whose seeds we are all growing.

 - The first packets are distributed and planted, in Port Talbot

The first packets are distributed and planted, in Port Talbot

 - The first packets are distributed and planted, in Port Talbot

The first packets are distributed and planted, in Port Talbot

 - Swinton playgroup in Yorkshire put together a factsheet to spread the word about our project

Swinton playgroup in Yorkshire put together a factsheet to spread the word about our project

 - As the sun came out they started planting in Brighton...

As the sun came out they started planting in Brighton...

 - ...and Guildford...

...and Guildford...

 - ...and Stratford-upon-Avon, where it looks like they were using special sunflower compost!

...and Stratford-upon-Avon, where it looks like they were using special sunflower compost!

 - We even got into the spirit at Tall Flowers HQ in Lichfield

We even got into the spirit at Tall Flowers HQ in Lichfield

 - The first green shoots we heard of (with relief!) were close to home in Lichfield

The first green shoots we heard of (with relief!) were close to home in Lichfield

 - But then good news started coming in from Guildford...

But then good news started coming in from Guildford...

 - ...and Portsmouth

...and Portsmouth

 - Meanwhile, back in Lichfield, our first sprouters were picking up pace, but their grower was worried about the fact that the lower leaves were dying (it's perfectly natural, apparently)

Meanwhile, back in Lichfield, our first sprouters were picking up pace, but their grower was worried about the fact that the lower leaves were dying (it's perfectly natural, apparently)

 - We found some serious growth under a windbreak in Scunthorpe

We found some serious growth under a windbreak in Scunthorpe

 - The best growth we've seen so far is in Andover. It'll soon be time to transfer those into the garden!

The best growth we've seen so far is in Andover. It'll soon be time to transfer those into the garden!

 - We took seeds to Dubai...

We took seeds to Dubai...

 - ...from where they went to Bahrain, and started to flourish!

...from where they went to Bahrain, and started to flourish!

 - The most amazing thing about this project has been how children have taken to it...

The most amazing thing about this project has been how children have taken to it...

 - ...

...

 - ...

...

 - Well, most children!

Well, most children!

 - The grown-ups have been no less enthusiastic. This photo came with a message from a competitive mum: 'I am winning the race at home!'

The grown-ups have been no less enthusiastic. This photo came with a message from a competitive mum: "I am winning the race at home!"

 - We've seen a few things we didn't expect to see: 
Dwarf sunflowers...

We've seen a few things we didn't expect to see: Dwarf sunflowers...

 - ...and mini-greenhouses!

...and mini-greenhouses!

 - Our sunflowers have had to fend off quite a lot, including 27 snails in Wales...

Our sunflowers have had to fend off quite a lot, including 27 snails in Wales...

 - ...and a cat in Rabat (actually, this was taken in Lichfield, but I was committed to the rhyme!)

...and a cat in Rabat (actually, this was taken in Lichfield, but I was committed to the rhyme!)

 - We've seen some really competitive growing. In this family of three in Stratford, Dad is really lagging behind.

We've seen some really competitive growing. In this family of three in Stratford, Dad is really lagging behind.

 - ...and in this family of 5 in Ashwell, the parents weren't even allocated sunflowers. The three in the middle belong to triplets, while the two in the pots at either side are being grown in honour of two imaginary future pets!

...and in this family of 5 in Ashwell, the parents weren't even allocated sunflowers. The three in the middle belong to triplets, while the two in the pots at either side are being grown in honour of two imaginary future pets!

 - By the time June came around, we were really starting to see some growth...in Leeds...

By the time June came around, we were really starting to see some growth...in Leeds...

 - ...and in Wrexham...

...and in Wrexham...

 - ...where they are growing a ring of flowers!

...where they are growing a ring of flowers!

 - At Tall Flowers HQ our sunflowers grew taller than our Christmas tree!

At Tall Flowers HQ our sunflowers grew taller than our Christmas tree!

 - And by the end of June, one of our sunflowers at Chase Grammar School in Cannock started to grow a head. We were entering a whole new phase...

And by the end of June, one of our sunflowers at Chase Grammar School in Cannock started to grow a head. We were entering a whole new phase...

 - July brought both height...

July brought both height...

 - ...

...

 - ...

...

 - ...and vibrant colour...

...and vibrant colour...

 - ...

...

 - ...

...

 - ...

...

 - ...not all of it yellow!

...not all of it yellow!

 - Not every sunflower was blooming. But where they weren't, we were improvising!

Not every sunflower was blooming. But where they weren't, we were improvising!

 - Of course, with tall sunflowers come high stakes...and some unexpected summer winds brought some challenges.

Of course, with tall sunflowers come high stakes...and some unexpected summer winds brought some challenges.

 - But those challenges were always outweighed by the pleasant surprises: including a bit of publicity in Gardeners' World magazine!

But those challenges were always outweighed by the pleasant surprises: including a bit of publicity in Gardeners' World magazine!

 

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