Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury's giant sunflower grower shows off his monster pumpkin

A Shrewsbury grower of giant flowers and vegetables has been at it again - this time by producing a mammoth 720lb (326kg) pumpkin.

Last updated
The giant pumpkin weighing in at over 700lbs grown by Andrew Florendine

Andrew Florendine, an IT consultant, has been growing gigantic vegetables and flowers for a number of years, and recently claimed to have grown the UK's largest sunflower this year, at 20 feet, in his Shrewsbury garden.

Now the 43-year-old father of two has grown a gigantic pumpkin ahead of Halloween, which has just won him second prize at a the Malvern Autumn Show.

Andrew, who is now taking a two-year break from prodigious vegetable growing - as he is set to move to New Zealand with his family - said his gargantuan gourd was beaten by a Barry Island grower whose pumpkin weighed in at a massive 1,300lbs.

The giant pumpkin weighing in at over 700lbs grown by Andrew Florendine

"I don't mind coming second because everybody is very friendly at these competitions - although we treat it as a competitive sport and everyone has their secrets," said Andrew.

He said his pumpkin, which was transported by flat-bed truck and loaded and unloaded by a crane, was probably not going to make it back home following the Malvern Show.

"They tend to break and you get a bit of seepage," said Andrew, who started growing the pumpkin in March, after being challenged by his daughter.

Andrew and his sunflower measuring 20 feet tall

He said his giant pumpkin was grown using a pedigree seed belonging to a "legendary pumpkin" called "Tiger King".

"That pumpkin grew to be 2,350lb and just that one seed cost me £90, as it is all about genetics. I then had to grow it under LEDs with the right amount of food and tender loving care," he said.

"I probably did give it a bit too much attention and have neglected work and family life, but it will be my last effort for a couple of years as we are moving to New Zealand this week.

Andrew Florendine from Shrewsbury has grown a 20ft sunflower in his garden

"I perhaps shouldn't say this as my wife doesn't know but I actually delayed our trip by a few days so I could display the pumpkin!"