It’s that time of year again. I love it; seeing plants and trees beginning to burst into life again after the winter – especially after a winter like the one we’ve just had. My Amaryllis has performed a minor miracle (I thought we’d killed it and was about to chuck it, but the next day there was a 5 inch stem where before there had just been dead and dying leaves. It now has four – FOUR! – enormous blooms!). There are buds everywhere you look outside. Bean was a little bit annoyed that he would be spending time at school weeding the flower beds and vegetable patch (“I just want to plant the little seeds, not do weeding first. That’s just boooorrrrrring”) in preparation for the planting they will be doing. He loved planting seeds in our garden and greenhouse last year.
I’d like to grow a sunflower. Our previous attempts have never been very successful, with the plants falling victim to the slugs before they’d reached anything like their full potential. This year we shall try again, and we’ll be helping a charity while we’re at it.
Green fingered youngsters are being challenged by Have a Lovely Time and NurtureStore to see who can grow the tallest sunflower (much like Blue Peter of old). Anyone can join in – families, schools, groups and organisations by simply donating £2 to Wolverhampton’s Compton Hospice through their JustGiving page. In return, you’ll receive sunflowers seeds, an information pack and fun activities to download from NurtureStore.
There are prizes for the tallest sunflower, as well as prizes for the group or school nominated by the winner, and loads of other prizes awarded at the judges’ discretion.
Organiser Katie Love said
“We felt this would create a fantastic visual tribute to the hospice, tying in both the national hospice emblem of the sunflower and our awareness month in June. There are some great prizes on offer but we also hope anyone joining in will take great enjoyment from seeing their sunflower grow over the three months.”
There are some fantastic educational opportunities involved in taking aprt in this challenge too. Sunflowers can be used as a learning aid for topics on plants, animals, seasons, where food comes from, how things grow, maths and science. They can be used as a basis for art, craft and music activities too.
To enter, download an activity pack and follow instructions to register. You can find these by clicking on the image of a sunflower at the play-focussed website NurtureStore or Have a Lovely Time which also have details of how to donate online.
First prize is a family ticket to the Just So Festival in August. The festival, held at Barnswood near Leek, is a boutique, weekend-long celebration of creativity aimed at children, young people and their families. There’s also a family ticket to Birmingham’s Thinktank to be won, a micro or maxi scooter and a customised Fairtrade top.
For schools or organisations, the prizes are a £100 voucher from leading supplier of children’s gardening tools, Spotty Green Frog and a birch tree from Shropshire-based Boningale Gardens Creations.