Well, to be more accurate, it’s really the tale of about a dozen sunflowers, but 2 different varieties.

Every year I grow regular sunflowers for fun, I like to see how big I can get them (yes, I know I’m like a big kid). One year I grew one that must have been 9 feet tall with a flower head the size of a dinner plate. I have a photo of it somewhere, but just can’t lay my hands on it at the moment. I’ve never been able to better it.

So this year as normal I sowed a few seeds. They germinated readily, grew enthusiastically and I ended up with 3 plants about 6 feet tall. No drama, no crisis, just sunflowers.

At the beginning of the year, my gardening chum, Sylvia, had given me some sunflower seeds that she had collected from her own plants last Autumn. She didn’t know the variety, but said they were ‘many headed’ unlike mine which are just single flowers, so I decided to give them a go.

I sowed some of them, but germination was poor so I sowed all the rest. In the end I had about 8 viable plants. I tended them carefully along with my other seedlings and when the time was right planted them outdoors along the front of the house, with a trellis for support.

I protected each of  them with a Schweppes cloche, and tied each individual to a small cane until they were tall enough to reach the trellis, then proceeded to water them regularly along with my other stuff.

What followed was an uphill struggle. They just never seemed to get going, not helped I have to say by the strong wind that seems to have been blowing all year. To say they looked sad was an understatement. There were some days when they looked dead, and on occasions I came close to giving up on them altogether. How glad I am that I didn’t.

All of a sudden they seemed to get into the way of the game. Almost overnight they went from poor, sad looking specimens to healthy plants. They did still suffer from the wind, and I seemed to be forever tying them up, but I’m so glad I persevered with them.

They certainly are a lovely colour, a sort of primrose yellow, these photos don’t really do them justice.

Even now if it’s very sunny they go a bit limp, but a good watering soon perks them up. I’ll be saving my own seeds this year, to sow next Spring. At least I know what to expect next time.