Mike has taken part in The Big Sunflower Project since 2016 and has supported the project on his blog Flighty’s Plot since then.
In 2017 Mike wrote:
I don’t have a garden just a half-plot allotment, which is only a few minutes walk away from home, where I grow soft fruit, vegetables and lots of flowers including sunflowers.
One of the varieties I have grown was the knee-high Music Box which did really well so I’ll be growing it again. As I don’t have a greenhouse I sowed the seeds in small pots on the windowsill at home. When I planted them out on the plot I sprinkled some organic slug pellets around them. The plants produced numerous colourful flowers over a long period and didn’t need staking.
It’s said that sunflowers bring out the happy child in everyone. They certainly do with me, which is why I grow them as one of my favourite flowers and I’m happy to support this good cause, which includes linking to this website on my blog.
In 2018 Mike wrote:
As much as I would like to grow impressively tall sunflowers my allotment is in the middle of a rather exposed site where wind damage to taller plants can occur, even when they’re staked and tied.
The past couple of years I’ve grown the knee-high sunflowers Music Box, which only grow to around 30″/75 cm and generally do well. If you’re hoping to take part and only grow in containers then these are an ideal variety. They have numerous flowers in various colours – usually yellow, some bi-coloured red/yellow and occasionally lemon – all with dark centres.
I grow them in an area I call sunflower corner where they flower from early July well into autumn. As with all the flowers that I grow they are attractive to bees and butterflies. I save some seed heads and leave others for the birds or to self-seed. This year I’ve saved a lot of these seeds to donate to Toni to send to participants in The Big Sunflower Project 2019.
In 2019 Mike wrote
I had a good year on my allotment with one of the highlights being the sunflowers which did really well. As usual I grew the knee-high variety Music Box which got rather overshadowed by taller ones so I’ll be growing them in a separate area next year. The taller Ring of Fire not only did well but four blooms that I picked and entered in one of the floral classes at my horticultural society’s annual show in early September won a first prize, much to my surprise and delight.
I collected and sorted lots of seeds from both of these varieties which I’ve sent to Toni for use in next years project. I’ll be growing them again along with the new to me variety Sonja which grows to around three to four feet with plenty of four inch dark-centred blooms which are golden-orange.
It never ceases to amaze me how sunflower seeds planted in the spring germinate and grow in just a few months, with the wonderful flowers not only making us smile but also providing food for bees, birds and butterflies.