Bryan’s super sunflower reaches for the sky
When keen gardener Bryan Rogers planted sunflower seeds with his grandchildren in the back garden of his Shrewsbury home, little did he expect that weeks later it would have reached such epic proportions.
The 59-year-old window cleaner, from Harlescott, regularly involves his four grandchildren in helping out in his garden, whether it's planting vegetables and fruit or nurturing flowers to bloom.
But he has been tending a spectacular sunflower which now stands an impressive 14ft 10in and towers over his garage.
Bryan's daughter, Emma, said: "Dad is a keen gardener and had set a new personal best for his sunflower this year, a whopping 14 feet 10 inches.
"He enjoys growing the sunflowers with his four grandchildren who are aged 11, three, two and two. He also involves the children with growing, picking and eating fresh vegetables, which they all absolutely love."
Bryan said: “I started growing sunflowers about 25 years ago when my son Tom was small and he’s now in his thirties. The first one was 13ft tall.
“When Keira came along I planted another and since then I have been trying beat 13ft, but up until this year the best I did was one I nicknamed ‘Giraffe’ which was 10ft 8in. Last year I hit 6ft with ‘Sunzilla’ which also had really massive flowers.
“One of my daughters Abby got these Mongolian Giant seeds off the internet. We potted them indoors in May and then when they got established we put them outside in July.
“I clean windows at a farm so I used a couple of bags of well rotted manure, composts, chicken manure pellets and plant food to nurture them. But the best bit I think is my that my wife Cheryl, 57, has a cup of black coffee with no sugar every morning and I use the left overs to give it a drink.
“She tells me that she is a sunflower widow.
“I realised that the plants were going to be really tall about a month ago when they were creeping high up the side of the outhouse. I thought, ‘this will be a good ‘un’.
“I’ve only been measuring them once a week and I’m well chuffed with how they’ve grown this time.”
Bryan, a former farm worker, and his wife grew up in Whitchurch and lived in Welshpool before setting down roots in Shrewsbury 30 years ago.
“I’ve always enjoyed growing things. We have vegetable patch in the bottom of our garden where we grow things like potatoes and corn. The grandchildren absolutely love the digging and eating what we’ve grown afterwards. I’ve been growing things all my life,” he said.
He added that the latest bloom is nicknamed ‘Keira’ after his eldest grandchild.