2016

The Sunflower Competition.

March 2005.

Ceri invited us over to her house in Birstall for drinks and nibbles. Its was the Easter Holidays so we jumped at the chance for a get together. When we arrived, Colin and Nikola were already there, sat in the lounge, sipping drinks. Ceri had been running around all morning preparing the food, which was delicious as always. Steve shared his birthday stories, opened cards and gifts, we gave a brief review of our trip to the theatre, in Manchester the previous day. Antony & Cleopatra at the Royal Exchange. (Theatre in the Round.)
I happened to mention that I had been gardening and that I was preparing to plant some sunflowers this year. I may as well have said that I was booked on the next space shuttle to the Moon, the uproar my statement created. It seemed that everyone wanted to plant a sunflower seed and before long a competition was upon us, a sweep-stake no less. Some rules were quickly laid down. Each seed would cost £5. You could purchase as many seeds as you wanted. The seeds must come from the same genetic batch and the winner would be the person who grew the tallest plant that summer. We also agreed that we would need to meet early next week and have a kind of, 'Seed Night.' At this event we would all pay our monies, collect our seed/s and formally enter into the competition.
Friday Eve.
Ceri: "After numerous cancellations of the 'Seeding Night,' I tried in vain to get us all together, unfortunately we cannot all make it. Therefore, I propose that I may purchase my seed this evening, pot it and transport it to the Isle of Wight for growing by my niece and nephew. There is much debate over whether this contravenes the rules or not."

Saturday.

Neil came over in his van and the 3 of us loaded it up with last years garden rubbish. The garden feels much bigger now and the stage is set for the competition to commence, we must synchronize the 'Seed Night' soon because the conditions are perfect for sowing.
Next Saturday.
Steve: "Went to Ceri's and now have my seed. Ceri bought two, I have stuck with the one. May the best seed grow the tallest. Up to 2.5m it says on the packet."


Sunday Morning.
I have planted my seed this morning at 9.30am. Steve has just planted his also. He has taken it upstairs into the back room which is very sunny. I have posted a letter to the competition entrants with a photocopy of the seed packet, reminding Nikola and Colin, who have still to buy their seeds. (The Seed Night never came off and the seeds were distributed sporadically.)
Text Message Alert. To Nikola from Steve:
Hey! Seeds now available for collection, get your fivers out.
To Steve from Nikola:
Hey there! Will try to pop round during the week for our seeds. I am hoping that they have not been subjected to any genetic modification by our opponents whilst I *some text missing*
To Nikola from Steve:
I can confirm that all seeds remain in their original format and have not been tampered with. Cheats will be disqualified!
By the end of April all the entrants had procured and sown their seeds. Ceri was pleased that she had planted 2 in case one turned out to be a dud. I was nervous until I saw the first piece of green peeking through the soil, it soon became established and was planted out.
Steve gave his plant lots of fertiliser and nurtured it. He did this by putting it out in the sunlight and bringing the pot back indoors when it was windy, until it was finally ready to be planted out.

In fact by the 21st of April, Steve noticed that his sunflower had, sprung up.

Steve: "It has sprouted! Moisture and sunshine are the key to success. I reckon I'll have to protect my flower from random picking."

Nikola: The seed has been received in good order and awaits planting. I report it appears to be a strong specimen, resembling a terrapins head. Further report on plantage and general progress shall be logged herewith at regular intervals.

2nd of May. Nikola: At last the terrapin-headed seed has been sown. It is currently residing at the kitchen windowsill in the most favourable weather conditions. All the above applies to Colin's seed too. Watch this space for more updates.

To Steve from Nikola: We have had sproutage of the seedage.
To Nikola from Steve: Well my totem pole is reaching dizzy heights.
To Steve from Nikola: Ooh er missus.

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The long and the short of it:

There was never an official adjudication. No official measurement or anything. Steve somehow won, his grew the tallest. There was much debate about 'underhand dealing' when Steve was accused of sabotaging Colin and Nikola's plants. I'm sure he meant well when he relocated their plants at the end of their garden for them, where it was sunnier. Unfortunately a gust of wind came and the stalks doubled over and snapped.

I like to think that something unique happened to my plant, it was kind of eclipsed.
Correct me if I'm wrong (comment). Well, this is my version anyway.

Check out these beautiful red sunflowers planted out this year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On reading the above a great need to add my version came over me....so here goes.....

It was as if a new idea had been unleashed upon this, the night we all decided to go sunflowerhead to sunflowerhead!! All went very well in the beginning, once we all had eventually chosen our prize seeds.

The battle then commenced...

Ceri was the 1st to strike out, when she felt it was fine to actually vicariously grow her 2 seeds on an island miles away from all other competitors, just nipping down once in a while to view height progress! Oh no, we said...how can your sunflower be measured and surely each owner should be responsible for their own plants..glad to say the majority ruled (mind you, Ceri's sunflowers were not actually grown at her own residence, but at her mums, a mere few miles from the rest of us!).
Anyway, it became clear from the beginning that I had to keep a close eye on my prize sunflower, as the suggestion of midnight journeys to view each others progress was made..oh oh...so most nights I brought my flower into the house..it proved a good move...

One day, on the way home from work I popped into Colin and Nikola's (during the day and all above board, I hasten to add). I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how short their 2 sunflowers were (at this point I couldn't see these sunflowers challenging my wannabe CN Tower like sunflower!). So out of the goodness of my heart I suggested that they move their sunflowers to a waterside part of the garden, thus capturing more sun..''that will help'' I said. Colin and Nikola were happy with this move...or so it seemed.

A few days later...

I don't recall how I heard the bad news, but when I did my heart sunk....as a direct result of Colin and Nikola's sunflowers being moved to the waterside, it turned out to be a feast for slugs and snails. They had been devoured overnight. Oh dear.
But little was I to know that the finger of destruction was pointing directly at me! In no uncertain terms I was classed as a sunflower killer and a cheat..to name but a few. How could they I thought??? Me?? Despite my many defences, I was deemed guilty and sent down.

After much time, I did actually win the competition, bagged the money...it was a beauty!! It was never measured however it was very clear that I had won.

The joy was not shared as only one person congratulated me, Paul, thanks for that.
No-one else did. Nor did they want to see my sunflower..in fact I still have the cardboard sunflowers which would have decorated the winners congratulations card. Maybe one day I will send a card with the sunflowers proudly stuck on the front!??!

I never received one.

In spite of all that, I now have 7ft sunflowers, of all varieties in my garden, standing proud, with an array of colours, so my sunflowers live on.

So thats my side of this story. I am of course open to any comments/challenges!!!

Long live the sunflower!

Steve