An avid gardener from Kettering has grown a sunflower that is just under eight foot tall and has agreed to share her green fingered secrets.
Martina Fernando developed a keen interest in gardening over a number of years and, now that she has retired, she is finally free to plant to her heart's content. Earlier this year, Martina decided to plant a very special type of sunflower called 'Black Magic'.
Martina said: "This is the first year we have grown these. They differ from the traditional sunflower by having black petals and not yellow ones.
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"I was drawn to the uniqueness of it! I had never seen one like it. Hence, my interest!"
Martina and her husband, Joe, nurtured the sunflower from a seed that they germinated in their conservatory along with lots of other seeds in April. It was then transferred to the garden in June, where it now stands tall over Martina at a colossal 240cm; it is still growing!
We asked Martina to share her secret behind growing her sunflowers to such a great height. She said: "Positioning is key. It needs to be in the sun, it needs plenty of water, tomato food and lots of nurturing.
"You also need to ensure that they are well supported - secured well to a long stake."
Martina germinated so many seeds that she was able to give many away to family and friends.
She added: "I’d be interested to see how other people have got on with their other varieties."
Are you a passionate gardener, who has grown tall sunflowers or other giant plants? Share your planting triumphs by emailing your pictures to [email protected] along with the details of what you have grown and their size.