Three tallest sunflowers so far make their bow in competition
So you think you've seen some big sunflowers in our pages? Well, look again - these magnificent blossoms are outstripping them all.
These are the three sunflowers that are the current front runners in the Belfast Telegraph's Bloomin' Marvellous sunflower growing competition, so will you be able to beat them by September 8?
We've had no less than 12 sunflowers that have topped the 10ft mark on our tape measure, but these are the very biggest. And the amazing thing is that none of the gardeners claim any special tricks for growing them.
In third place is the sunflower grown by Anita Patterson from Tandragee, whose bloom has reached 10ft 4ins and counting. That's twice the height of our environment correspondent Linda Stewart, making it two Lindas tall.
Anita says her sunflowers last year grew extremely tall and these are grown from their seeds.
"My daughter keeps saying she can't believe how much it's grown," she said.
"There is nothing special that we did – just ordinary compost and a little Miracle Gro and we watered it every day. I didn't talk to it or anything."
In second place – at the moment – is Bangor gardener Rodney Thompson whose bloom has pushed through the 11ft mark with at a mighty 11ft 3ins. That is a full 6ft 1in taller than our this writer, making it 2.18 Lindas in height.
"I've grown them these past two to three years for the grandchildren but they've never got anywhere like that – it was a fluke," he said.
"Everyone I've spoken to didn't believe me until they come and look for themselves. They're just grown in Asda compost and I had to tie three bamboo canes together to support it."
But the granddaddy of them all is this colossus grown in a Newbuildings garden by Shirley Olphert, reaching an incredible 11ft 9ins. That's 6ft 7ins taller, scoring a big 2.27 Lindas.
"This was the first year we planted them and the tallest has grown to nearly 12ft," she said.
"We had just walked about the shops and seen the packets – we just opened them and put the seeds in. I just kept them staked, kept them tied up and whatnot."
But there's still time to beat these giants as our competition doesn't end until September 8. If you think your sunflower can beat this one, show it off. Just measure your sunflower, take a photo and send it in. Include your name, address, phone number, email address, the height of your tallest sunflower and a photo.
Either email your entry to sun firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to Linda Stewart at Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1DN by September 8 – but we do want to see how they're getting on before that, so go ahead and send them in. And if you've already sent in an entry, keep us updated.
Story so far
So, how does your sunflower measure up? Our tallest to date is an incredible 11ft 9ins, which is 6ft 7ins taller than our environment correspondent, scoring an impressive 2.27 Lindas. For the chance to win one of three digital cameras, show us how your best sunflower is getting on. Linda will be out and about over the next few weeks, measuring the most promising specimens.