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Sunflower diaries

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The Sunflower Diaries

Sunflower-with-sunglasses

Welcome to the sunflower diaries, which will be charting the progress of Church Minshull's sunflowers between now and judging day.

See Competition Grow & Show Rules

Children who are taking part in the 'Grow and Show' sunflower competition are invited to tell us all about their adventures as they try to grow the village's tallest sunflower. Send us your views on how your sunflowers are doing, your boasts as you see your sunflowers reach for the skies and any sunflower growing top tips. And don't forgot the photos!

Send your diary entries to editor@villagearena.org (putting 'sunflower diaries' in the subject line).

Happy growing!

 

Diary entries:

Date 3rd September 2017
Post by: Lesley

"I am delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural Church Minshull sunflower growing competition:

Children:
1st — Isabelle who grew her sunflowers at Grandma and Grandad Taylor's house
2nd — Holly who grew her sunflowers at Grandma and Grandad Wallis's house
3rd — Alfie who grew his sunflowers at Grandma and Grandad Denton's house

Adults:
1st — Kathryn Cronin
2nd — Peter and Jeanne Stockdale
3rd — Andrew Baddeley

Many congratulations to all the winners and runners-up and well done to all those who took part, it's been a tight-run competition."

 

Date: 30th August 2017
Post by: The sunflower poet

"The sunflower competition is drawing to a close,
There's been gasps and gawps as each sunflower grows,
There's been non-starters and droopers, aphids and slugs,
snails taken hostage and relentless bugs.

Songs have been sung and rain dances performed,
There's even been one or two sunflowers' mourned.
Have the over-confident fallen foul?
Will the quiet growers steal the crown?
Be prepared for cheers and sadness,
Find out the results at 'Minshull Madness'."

 

Date: 23rd August 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"I've had an interesting few days attending various events around the village and listening to people boast about their sunflowers. People have spoken of buying plants in garden centres or even purloining them from fields!

I have even heard people accuse each other of being me! Which was most amusing. Especially as they almost totally ignored me — the real Secret Sunflower Sower!

But here I have a problem: the judges say that in order to have my beauties measured I must be identified so they can be sure I grew my sunflowers in Church Minshull — not like that Balcony Sunflower person — unless we have some flats on about 5 floors I haven't seen yet.

My power comes from being secret like that Kendo Nagasaki wrestler (If you are under 20 ask your Mum or Dad). If I am identified, I will lose my power and no longer be able to grow the best plants.

Well! there may be a competition next year with mega prizes and that would be better to win so I have decided to withdraw from this silly competition which I didn't want to win anyway as it was too easy for me. I am waiting for the big money prizes to come and then I will be victorious.

Till next time......"

 

Date: 17th August 2017
Post by: Lesley

It's only 14 days left to sunflower measuring day when 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in each category will be decided. Are you ready? Are your sunflowers reaching new heights?

As a reminder, I am going to measure the children's category on Wednesday 30th August. Adult entries will be measured on Thursday 31st August. If you are not available on the measuring day then please let me know on 522952 so I can make appropriate arrangements.

Good luck for the last 2 weeks of the competition!

Dates for your diary:
Children's section — Wednesday 30th August — 10am to 8pm
Adults' section — Thursday 31st August — 10am to 4pm

sunflower measuring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 28th July 2017
Post by: The 4 Foot Grower

"This is a photo of myself with my sunflower. I am about 4' tall so I think my sunflower is about 9' tall. I live in Sandbach so have had to leave my sunflower with Grandad who I think is making a pretty good job of looking after it for me. He even got Uncle Roger from Frog Manor to come and water it for me when Grandad went on holiday for a weekend. It is so tall you can even see its head from the bedroom window. It is growing on a pot."

Holly Wallis sunflower2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 25th July 2017
Post by: Lesley

Only 36 days left to sunflower measuring day when 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in each category will be decided. Due to the sheer volume of entries, I am going to measure the children's category a day earlier than originally planned on Wednesday 30th August. Adult entries will be measured as planned on Thursday 31st August. If you are not available on the measuring day then please let me know on 522952 so I can make appropriate arrangements.

So the judging dates for your diary are:

Children's section — Wednesday 30th August — 10am to 8pm
Adults' section — Thursday 31st August — 10am to 4pm

Good luck for the last 5 weeks of the competition!

 

Date: 25th July 2017
Post by: The gifted grower

"This is a photo of my sunflower taken by my Nana in the garden of her house. My Nana and Grandad are taking good care of it at their house because I live in Sandbach. It is growing in the garden so has a lot a sun and rain. It is very strong and is still growing, so I hope I'm going to win (and especially beat Holly and Alfie!). It is even taller than the sweet peas which are growing next to it!"

Harry Wallis sunflower2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 21st July 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"After my ramble around the south of the village, I thought I had best walk around the north to see if there was anything any better to be seen there. Well! I had a walk along the canal and looked over the hedge at the Fierceblooms, a very nice garden but no sunflowers to worry me. I even checked their website fierceblooms.com and still no mention of sunflowers which was a shame. I tried to see baby bloomer's but I think that whilst her wellies may be wet her sunflowers appeared to be hiding.

I walked along Weaver View and saw none peeking over the fences there so I am thinking that if they have any, they can't be that tall. So it looks like no one is going to beat me! Well! we all knew that didn't we?

So due to the dry weather I have been doing a little rain dance and singing 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' as well as keeping on with 'You are my Sunshine' and the odd bit of 'Reach for the Stars'

Till next time you runners up!"

secret sunflower sower 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 18th July 2017
Post by: Sunflower grower Alfie

"My grandma and grandpa are taking good care of my sunflowers. We have had a few worries but they are getting taller now every day. I think that mine should stand a good chance of a place if not a win but we shall see."

 

Date: 13th July 2017
Post by: Balcony Sunflower Sower

"My sunflowers have got brown spots on some of the leaves. They don't seem to be doing the plant any harm so I am going to leave them and see what happens. The plants are growing fast and are taller than me now!"

balcony sunflowers 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 6th July 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"I've had a wander about. Nobody seems to want to say how their sunflowers are doing. I think maybe they are worried that they can't compete with me. So I have done a little tour of Church Minshull to see what I could see or hear.

Dr Smith is worried that her sunflowers are not as big as the ones that Peter Stockdale has put on view. Well Mr Stockdale they are good looking plants, lots of leaf, but not the tallest I've seen.

Isabelle's special sunflowers are doing fine according to the postman, tucked away where most can't see them.
The best I've seen are Alfie's which are nearly as big as mine and touch the gutter of the building they are sheltering behind. Not bad considering Grandma nearly cooked them. Perhaps that might be an idea to get them started next year.

Next time I might have a wander around the north side of the village and see what's going on there. I'm not too worried yet that anyone can beat me but there are 60 days to go to measuring day so plenty of feeding and watering needed.

Music for now is 'Stairway to Heaven' but whatever you do don't play 'Wuthering Heights' or they may get ideas."

 

Date: 22nd June 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"All is well in the sunflower bed! There are about 70 days to go to measuring day!! My sunflowers are powering ahead at a rate of a centimetre or two a day. So by measuring day they will be 3.5 metres taller than they are now (for old people that's more than 10 feet!) and they are exceptionally tall already. The world record could be in reach.

I have been watering them every day, sometimes twice a day in this hot weather. That said, being sunflowers they love the heat. I think the first flower is just starting to form. By measuring day it will be like a bin lid. I have been keeping them happy with singing. I am impersonating Dean Martin with "A sunflower from the sunflower state". When we get fed up of that we have a blast of "Long Tall Sally". I am not sure which is better, my sunflowers or my singing."


secret sunflower sower 7

 


secret sunflower sower 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 15th June 2017
Post by: Balcony Sunflower Sower

"My sunflowers are still standing but the wind hasn't done them any good at all — they look quite battered and sorry for themselves. I hope they recover."

balcony sunflowers 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 10th June 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"Disaster Strikes! Well! It has happened. The hordes of evil slugs and snails have got through. Despite my night-time sorties with all sorts of poisons and my attempts to throw the slugs and snails away, they have got through and mortally wounded one of my valiant sunflowers by chewing around the base of the stalk.

So slug pellets have been redeployed in greater numbers to drive the slimy creatures away. If it wasn't the slugs it was the wind that has tried to pull them from the ground, but I have staked them well and they are not going anywhere.

And of course now there are just three there is more food for each so they will shoot up even faster. I am thinking "Stairway to Heaven" might just be the tune to keep them rocking and make them more hard core!!

Until next time!"

secret sunflower sower 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 8th June 2017
Post by: Lesley

"To Balcony Sunflower Sower — If your sunflowers are droopy then they probably need watering — sunflowers love hot sunny weather but they need lots of water if it is hot. At least it looks as though your aphids have gone now you have sprayed them. If you have any more problems with them, you can use a tissue to wipe them off if you don't want to use chemicals."

 

Date: 8th June 2017
Post by: Balcony sunflower sower

"My sunflowers are a bit droopy. What's wrong with them now?"

balcony sunflowers 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 4th June 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"In view of the dire warnings of thunderstorms last weekend I decided to stake my beauties. I have settled on 2.4m stakes (for the old people reading this, it is 8ft). I know they won't be long enough but it keeps them hidden behind the hedge where they can't be spied on.

I also think some people are sending their cats to spy on my sunflowers. I hope what they see doesn't put people off entering the competition because there will still be second and third places after I have won.
I have started this week on "Fly me to the Moon" as musical accompaniment. I think it is the next place my sunflowers will reach and very soon at the current rate of growth!"

secret sunflower sower 5 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 1st June 2017
Post by: The baby bloomer

"My sunflowers still haven't grown yet so mummy thinks that they won't be making an appearance this year. I'm sad! Mummy says that if I'd spent more time watering my seeds and less time watering my wellies, they may have grown. But I do like watering my wellies (and my sister's wellies). My sister isn't quite so keen as she tells me she doesn't like wet feet. Next time I try to grow sunflowers I will look after them better."

 

Date: 29th May 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"The new song 'Reach For The Stars' is working and my beautiful sunflowers are shooting ever upwards. You will all be excited to know I now have four healthy, happy plants from the five seeds I sowed. I think because of this, an extra 20% should be added to the height of each of my plants to make up for the missing one.

If my plants carry on as they are, I will soon be singing 'Walking on the Moon' and I am already being asked if they can be in Jack and the Beanstalk pantomimes as they are so tall!

You adults might as well give in now, you cannot win!!!"

Secret Sunflower Sower4-docx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 23rd May 2017
Post by: The greenfinger girls

"If you look very closely and squint whilst ensuring the sun is fully overhead, you'll be able to spot a sunflower shoot popping through the soil. We were very excited when we first spotted it. It had a few tiny leaves back then but they got eaten very quickly and so now it's a bit sad looking. How can we stop the slugs and snails eating our sunflowers? Mummy says to please send top tips on a postcard (or via the website)."

Green finger girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 22nd May 2017
Post by: Balcony sunflower sower

"There are bugs on my sunflowers! And I don't know what they are. I think one looks a bit like a greenfly. Can anybody tell me what they are called? Could they be baby greenfly? I guess I need to get some bug killer before they munch their way through my plants!"

balcony sunflower sower_bugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 18th May 2017
Post by: Balcony sunflower sower

"My sunflowers are shooting up. It's survival of the fittest as at the weekend I'm going to take out the weakest ones in each pot even though I feel very mean doing this."

balcony sunflower sower 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 14th May 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"Does anyone recognise this individual? Is it one of yours?

Sunflower sower_snail

 

 

 

 

 

 

I caught this slimy creature making its way towards the magnificent sunflowers. I am sure some jealous person, embarrassed by my tall sunflowers, sent it to do them harm.

Well! I am holding it hostage. I will release it after the competition is over.

I will win, you cannot defeat me, no matter what evil plans you have!"

 

Date: 11th May 2017
Post by: Balcony sunflower sower

"My sunflowers have sprouted!"

balcony sunflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 6th May 2017
Post by: The baby bloomer

"Mummy says I'm looking after my sunflower seeds very well. There are little sticks where I've planted them so I don't forget where they are. I've had to water then quite a lot as its not rained for a while. They're very thirsty but they still haven't popped through the soil yet! I'm also very thirsty and when I think mummy's not looking I have a drink from my watering can. I also watered by welly boots yesterday but they haven't grown any bigger. I hope I see my little sunflowers soon!"

Baby bloomer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 28th April 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"I know everyone was very concerned that my sunflowers hadn't made an appearance but a few verses of "Wake Me Up Before You Grow Grow" has had the desired effect and they are pictured below in their fetching anti slug/snail coats.

These are rufty-tufty outdoor sunflowers not your soft namby-pamby indoor ones so they will be big and strong. Thinking of putting a nice wool coat I've seen hanging up by the back door over them to keep them warm for the next few nights. New song "Reach For The Stars" should have them shooting up."

Secret sunflower3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 27th April 2017
Post by: Pete at Nanny's Bridge

"Sunflowers are on their way up! One at half an inch and one at one inch!"

 

Date: 27th April 2017
Post by: Jackie Taylor

"My granddaughter, Isabelle's special sunflowers planted on 20th April"

Jackie Taylor 2704

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 26th April 2017
Post by: The baby bloomer

"I asked my mummy to write this post as I can't write yet. I can scribble on walls with crayons but she says that doesn't count. I've planted my sunflower seeds with my mummy's help. Nothing's happened yet and it was really cold the other day so I hope my tiny seeds are okay. I will use my little watering can to keep the seeds watered and I'll try to remember not to eat the soil. Mummy and daddy say it's not good for me but I think it tastes yummy!"

 

Date: 23rd April 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"Well! Two weeks in and my sunflowers are being reluctant to show above the soil. I am not worried as these are the Usain Bolts of the seed world, they will start slowly and run away with the competition towards the end and I will win!

I heard the singing of the greenfinger girls and thought it was a good idea. I have tried "We are the Champions" but I don't think it was loud enough. I'll try again later with a better song.

I am going to make sure my seeds are kept nice and warm this next week as it is going to be cold enough to snow!!

I have heard there are some adults who think they can grow the tallest sunflower in Old Church Minshull Town. Do they not realise they cannot beat me?"

 

Date: 19th April 2017
Post by: The greenfinger girls

"We planted our sunflowers a week ago but nothing's happened yet. Not sure if we've watered them enough. Just hoping we haven't killed them already. Maybe we should sing to them to get them to grow! Mummy says a good song would be 'You're my sunshine, my only sunshine'. I don't know the words but I can hum along."

 

The greenfinger girls' sunflower patch. No shoots yet but their singing might make all the difference!

Boote sunflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: 12th April 2017
Post by: The secret sunflower sower

"I have prepared my seed bed, planted my seeds carefully and watered them well. Soon I will have the tallest sunflowers in all Church Minshull. I have sown five seeds and I expect to get the first five places. No one can beat me I am the greatest."

 

The secret sunflower sower planting their first seed

secret sunflower grower1 12 April

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bed is ready, let the sunflowers reveal themselves!

Secret sunflower sower2 12 April