Sunny side up

Garden News (UK) - - About Now -

Sun­flow­ers which do bet­ter in cooler, north­ern sum­mers have been re­vealed af­ter three years of tri­als at RHS Gar­den Har­low Carr in North York­shire. More than 50 va­ri­eties were planted in 2015 to cel­e­brate the gar­den in­dus­try’s Year of the Sun­flower and 30 were cho­sen for plant­ing.

Dwarf and com­pact va­ri­eties, no taller than 1.2m (4ft), have done par­tic­u­larly well, with golden ‘Lit­tle Leo’, 45cm (18in) tall; red and cream ‘Ms Mars’, 60cm (2ft) tall; semi-dou­ble, yel­low ‘Gar­den State­ment’, 90cm (3ft) tall, and lemon ‘Wa­hoo’, 1.05m (3ft 6in) tall, lead­ing the way.

“We used dwarf va­ri­eties as we’re on an ex­posed site and to re­duce stak­ing,” said cu­ra­tor Paul Cook. “We also planted two groups of tall, large-headed sun­flow­ers, like ‘Vel­vet Queen’, tied to frame­works in our fruit cages. They’ve done well, but we avoid heavy-headed, show-stop­pers in favour of multi-flow­ered types due to the weather.”

Spent flower heads are hung on struc­tures around the gar­den for birds to pick the seeds.

Award-win­ning, dwarf, multi-headed sun­flower ‘Wa­hoo’ has per­formed well at Har­low Carr

Tall favourite ‘Vel­vet Queen’

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