Belfast Telegraph

The little sunflower that made a big impact on beach

By Linda Stewart

We've been searching far and wide for the tallest entry in our sunflower growing competition – but here's our smallest!

This perfect little sunflower is only knee-height and was found growing wild on a beach on the Ards Peninsula by the McCleary family while on holiday.

It's thought the seed sprouted in the sand after being carried there by a bird.

More than 80 entries have flooded into our Bloomin' Marvellous sunflower growing competition, with at least 12 topping the 10 foot mark. The tallest so far is 11ft 9in, grown by Shirley Olphert from Newbuildings.

This one isn't in the running for tallest sunflower, but is definitely one of the quirkiest.

Mum Claire McCleary, who sent the photo in, said it's the first time she has ever seen a sunflower growing wild in the sand.

"We have a holiday place down there and we happened to stumble across it. It seemed to appear out of nowhere – the kids stumbled across it," she said.

The flower was discovered by Henry (8) and Lucy (6) at Sand End beach between Ballyhalbert and Ballywalter.

"It was a bit of beach that wouldn't be used very much," Claire said.

"There wouldn't be many passers-by there, so we suspect a bird must have dropped it and it's grown. The children were all excited when they saw their first sunflower growing in the wild.

"It was there for a good couple of weeks and then all of a sudden it just disappeared, so we think someone took it home."

The bloom has inspired them to sow sunflowers next spring.

"It was a bit of a novelty to see something growing in the wild like this, so they said could we not try and grow something?" Claire added.

Let us know how your sunflower is getting on for a chance to win one of three digital cameras. Just measure your sunflower, take a photo and send it in. Include your name, address, phone number, email address and the height of your tallest sunflower. Email your entry to sunflowers@belfasttelegraph.co.uk or post it to Linda Stewart at Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1DN by September 8, 2014.

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