The Big Sunflower Project 2019

Seed distribution for The Big Sunflower Project will begin again in early 2019. Seeds for the 2019 project have been obtained from Kings Seeds at a large discounted price, with money donated to the project in 2018. Seeds have also been donated by Katrin Wurmitsch-Hohenwarter and her friends and family in Austria, who grew sunflowers during the 2018 project.

The Big Sunflower Project is an initiative of The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy which aims to provide information about and raise awareness of these rare neuromuscular conditions. The project raises awareness by sending sunflower seeds to people who have never heard of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy and by sharing participants photos online.

Sunflower seeds from Kings seeds.

300 packets of seeds containing 50 seeds will be distributed in 2019 – one packet of seeds per applicant. Project seeds are sent free of charge to participants but anyone wanting to make a donation for their seeds can do so via this website. Donations are ploughed back into the project – they enable the project to send more seeds to more people and help ensure the future of the project.

Anyone is welcome to apply for seeds but priority is given to families affected by centronuclear and myotubular myopathy, community groups and good causes. Previously, seeds have been donated to schools and nurseries, community groups, groups who work with disadvantaged people, hospices and youth groups to name a few, so as well as raising awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy, the project supports the activities of these groups too.

Marius and sunflowers.

Please note, The Big Sunflower Project is not associated with any freebie websites. Please do not share information about the project with these organisations. The project does not have the capacity to deal with the number of requests generated by being advertised on these websites and if featured, it will force seed distribution to stop.

Photos submitted to the project are shared here on the project social media pages and also in The Information Point newsletter Our World. Photos are also sometimes used in applications for grants and funding, without which the project could not continue.

It is only possible to send seeds to the UK and Europe but the project wholeheartedly welcomes participation from anyone who wants to raise awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy by growing a sunflower and people who buy their own seeds are welcome to join in (if you would like to do this, please get in touch advising where you will be growing your sunflowers, so you can be included on the project map).

The Big Sunflower Project logo.

Meleena (Fulbourn Primary School)

To be honest I had never heard of The Big Sunflower Project and I had most certainly not heard of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy before 2017.

I received an email through school about taking part – I run a primary school gardening club and I thought “Yes, why not get involved”.  What a great way of combining growing something from seed and explaining how some peoples’ bodies do not grow strong because that have rare disorders.  A few of the children struggled to understand fully the impact of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy (quite complex when you are only 5) but they all grasped how some people are born different and have illnesses or disabilities.

The sunflower seeds arrived in their little brown packet and were eagerly received by the gardening club children.  Some of the children had not grown sunflowers before and to which ends we set about planting up one seed in a pot for each child in the club to take home and nurture.  The home results were mixed!  Some were forgotten and left without water, some were planted out too early and eaten by slugs, some were dug up by cats!  The ones that were given care and attention grew big and strong and added a splash of colour to the children’s garden.

The remaining seeds were broadcast sown in an area that had been dug over in our wild life area.  The seed were added to by a local farmer and the results were quite astounding.  A whole host of sunflowers that Van Gogh would have been pleased to paint.

We subsequently harvested the ripened heads (after explaining that each seed has been formed by an individual flower – wow!) and they are drying in our poly tunnel ready for planting again next year.  We will also pass some of the seeds on to other local schools and hope to raise awareness of The Big Sunflower Project for 2018.

Sunflowers grown at Fulborn Primary School

Nish

Nish lives in South Oxhey in the UK and took part in The Big Sunflower Project in 2017. Below he writes about taking part in the project.

My favourite flower are sunflowers. I also have a belief that whatever you sow into the ground, you have a chance that it may grow regardless of the external conditions. It just requires a little bit of hard work and a lot of faith.

Sunflowers are significant in Hindu culture too. The symbol of the sunflower is known as the flower of the Sun (Suryar Mukki). The male Hindu Sun God (Surat dada) is worshiped through the sunflower and thus all the female Goddesses also love the sunflower. So in our Hindu culture if you are a devotee of a Hindu Goddess then it is custom to adorn their photo or statue with a sunflower…. it will please the Goddess very much and the male Sun God will provide equal blessings towards your home and family.

Goddess and sunflower
I have grown sunflowers in the past and they have given me so much joy. My family love sunflowers too. Especially my niece and nephew who have witnessed the tallest sunflowers grow in our garden this year. That is all thanks to The Big Sunflower Project.

The sunflowers have been a major blessing to me. Everything I could have wanted and much more. It’s also been quite spiritual for me too. The sunflowers have given me so much happiness especially at times when I’ve been down or at my lowest.

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sunflower varieties bloom this year. The anticipation and excitement has given me so much happiness and sense of youth too. This year has been exceptional.

Thanks to the free seeds from The Big Sunflower Project I have been able to grow exotic and tall sunflowers this year. Two plant pots produced the tallest and highest yield of sunflowers. I am truly humbled and grateful to have been gifted the seeds. I’ll never forget how much happiness you have given me and my family in 2017. Thank you.