In 2011 Rachel grew a variety of sunflower called Giant Russian which can grow anything from 6 – 15 feet tall. Rachel lives in Oswestry and two of her family are diagnosed with centronuclear myopathy. Rachel says:
When I heard about The Big Sunflower Project I wanted to get involved, as it’s a fun way to raise awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy and sunflowers always put a smile my face.
I had recently cleared a big border of nasty weeds and needed something to fill the space quickly before the weeds showed me they were still boss. Behind the border was a high hedge, so the easy choice was the Giant Russian variety. I started my plants off on the kitchen windowsill and transferred them outside when they were a bit established, planting them one foot apart. They filled the space nicely and when they flowered, smiled over the top of the hedge at passers-by, meaning they could enjoy them too.
I had only ever grown sunflowers once before and they were the small ones which can be grown in pots with multiple flowers, so this was a first attempt at the big ones. They were a big success and the bees loved them.
I think the way for sunflower growers to out fox the slugs is to think big, even the hungriest of slugs will get full before making a big impact on Giant Russians. I didn’t feed my sunflowers, only gave them water – had I fed them too, I fear they may have turned into Triffids’.