Budding junior horticulturists from across the borough have once again risen to the challenge of growing the Tallest Sunflower.
Organised as part of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s annual ‘In Bloom’ initiative, the competition was open to young people aged 16 and under and helped spread some much-needed cheer as schools came to an abrupt end as a result of lockdown.
In total, the Council distributed over 7,000 packets of sunflower seeds to local shops and community centres in April, just in time for some very welcome warm weather in May and June. And, even though the rain returned in July and August, the results were spectacular as always with many using the extra time at home to tend to their gardens and those very special sunflower seeds.
Announcing the winner and runners-up, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said he was overwhelmed by the number of entrants this year.
‘This has been a very strange and challenging year for us all and especially our younger residents who have had to miss school and the many social and academic opportunities that go with it.
‘However, it has been heartening to see so many develop such a keen interest in this competition and give so much of their time and energy to cultivating and caring for their sunflowers.
‘I know I have been very impressed with the quality of the flowers on display this year and I hope everyone has enjoyed watching their sunflowers grow, and grow, and grow.
‘This competition really catches the imagination each year and after months of tender loving care by these young gardeners, it is wonderful to see the end results.
‘I am delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 Tallest Sunflower Competition is Evie Stirling, age 12, from Larne, whose sunflower grew to a magnificent 3 metres and 95 centimetres. Runners-up are Ella Blair, aged 10, from Carrickfergus with a mighty 3metre 55cm sunflower, and Cali McCormick, aged 5, from Carnlough, with a blooming 3metre 44cm tall sunflower.
‘My thanks and appreciation are extended to everyone who took part in this year’s “In Bloom” competitions and really helped lift all our spirits with such an abundance of floral beauty throughout the borough during these difficult times.’