Bo'ness woman's tips on growing massive sunflowers as one reaches 17 feet
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Christine McLachlan has over 60 sunflowers outside her flat in Snab Lane, Bo’ness.
But pride of place goes to one which currently measures 17 feet one inch.
Christine, 68, says her passion for sunflowers comes from growing up on the Isle of Wight, where everyone was growing the “happy flowers” as she likes to call sunflowers.
Referred to as the Sunflower queen by family, friends and neighbours, she her current blooms have all been brought on from five different variety of seed but her mammoth specimen is the aptly named High Hopes variety.
She said: “I moved her just over two years ago to be nearer my daughter Heidi. I’ve been through a lot, including my husband dying suddenly. But my garden heals me and I’m so lucky to have it.
"i want to show what individuals can do with a small piece of ground.”
But it’s not only beautiful floral displays Christine is creating, she says her garden is a “mini oasis for wildlife”.
She uses tomato feed for her sunflowers but also says that lots of water and cherishing have helped them grow.
Christine added: “You have to nurture them as you would a child. I’ve given people sunflower seeds and they say that they don’t grow well. But that’s because they’ve not looked after them properly.
"Organic principles are the way forward. I hope by example I can in a small way encourage the younger ones to feel they can make a difference.
"But people need to learn fast because we are killing off nature which ultimately, we all depend on.
Despite Christine’s whopper sunflower it still has quite a bit to grow to catch up with the biggest in the UK which was by a gardener in Wigan in 2012 – his sunflower grew to 26 feet
The current Guinness Book of Records tallest sunflower was grown by a German man in 2014. His bloom reached the heady heights of 30 feet and one inch so Christine’s sunflower only has another 13 feet to go.