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Thompson & Morgan awards record-breaking £2,000 for 8m sunflower


Thompson & Morgan awards record-breaking prize money to gardener with 8 metre tall sunflower


A gardener with a lifelong passion for sunflowers has won £2,000 following a nationwide hunt for the UK’s tallest specimen. Seed and plant specialist, Thompson & Morgan announced the biggest ever cash prize for a tallest sunflower competition back in the spring in a bid to see the world record brought to UK shores.


T&M upped the stakes this year in its search for the tallest sunflower and pledged to pay out not only £1,000 for the UK’s loftiest example of one of the nation’s favourite garden flowers, but to double the prize money if the gardener used its much vaunted incredibloom® fertiliser. And if the sunflower were to beat the world record, the mail order specialist was prepared to double the prize money again to £4,000!


The bumper prize attracted entrants from around the UK, from gardeners young and old. There were some stand-out specimens sitting between 12-14ft (3.7-4.3m), but the clear winner - at a staggering 26 feet 5 inches (8.04m) - was grown by Richard Hope. The Wigan gardener won the competition last year with his 24ft (7.2m) sunflower and is well-known on the giant veg growing circuit, having held previous world records for the biggest swede, heaviest leek and longest parsnip. Last Year, he grew his flowers against a sunny wall of his house, where his giant plants reach the apex of the roof three storeys up. This year, growing his plants in the same position, and using T&M’s incredicompost®, his winning entry was taller than the top of his roof!

Sadly, his giant entry was shy of the world record by 3ft 8in (1.1m), but Mr Hope still has his sights on beating the 30ft 1in (9.14m) sunflower grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer of Kaarst-Vorst, Germany in 2014.


"It takes complete dedication from beginning to end," said Mr Hope when asked how he has managed to grow such a roof-topping specimen, "It’s best to grow your plants up a south-facing structure, like a tall wall; something you can put a ladder against".


"I’ve had the best sunflowers I’ve ever grown this year and the only thing I’ve done differently, is to use the incredicompost® with the incredibloom® fertiliser. I always use seed from the previous year’s tallest sunflower; I start them off in the greenhouse and then re-pot them into bigger pots until there’s no likelihood of more frosts, then I plant them outside."


"I’ve had the best sunflowers I’ve ever grown this year and the only thing I’ve done differently, is to use the incredicompost® with the incredibloom® fertiliser. I always use seed from the previous year’s tallest sunflower; I start them off in the greenhouse and then re-pot them into bigger pots until there’s no likelihood of more frosts, then I plant them outside."

Further top tips from Richard for growing a super sunflower can be found on the Thompson & Morgan's website


T&M’s incredicompost® is a premium reduced-peat multipurpose compost which combines the benefits of a professional grade compost with the plant-boosting qualities of incredibloom® fertiliser. Each 25L bag of incredicompost® from Thompson & Morgan includes a 100g packet of incredibloom® and both have been independently trialled and verified as the best overall compost for sowing seeds and raising young plants.


Gardeners can read about the Which? Gardening trials on Thompson & Morgan's website


For gardeners wishing to have a go at beating Richard’s - or the world - record for the tallest sunflower, they can visit Thompson & Morgan's website where they’ll find suggestions on which variety to choose, as well as general information on growing sunflowers.




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