Growers of all ages step up to challenge
We've been absolutely bowled over by the response to our Bloomin' Marvellous sunflower growing competition.
So far, we've had more than 80 entries – and counting. Pictures of huge sunflowers continue to pour into our email inbox and through the Belfast Telegraph postbox.
Among the entries is one from Roisin and Owen Smith, whose flowers on the corner of Sunnyside Street in Belfast have impressed more than a few passers by. And one of the youngest is Charlotte Grant (3) from Donaghcloney who was given a sunflower by Noah's Ark Playgroup in Waringstown and has grown it to over 9ft.
But there's an even younger one, according to mum-to-be Karen Ryan, who planted three sunflowers, one for daughter Emily (5), one for daughter Heather (3) and one for 'Baby Fonzy' – or the bump – who is due any day now. "Emily has high hopes that when her sunflower blooms it will be the biggest of the three. It's currently 8ft 9ins. Emily is our most special daughter who was born with a rare chromosome deletion. She loves getting out in the garden with me and Heather, although she'd rather play in the mud," Karen says.
Meanwhile, Aimee Broadhurst (6) from Belfast has been watching and waiting for months, only to be delighted when her 7ft 3ins sunflower bloomed. "We have had difficulty keeping the snails away as another hobby of Aimee's is to collect snails and take them for rides around the garden on her bike," her mum Debbie said.