Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

SOME may con­sider them gaudy, oth­ers as­so­ciate them with chil­dren’s gar­den­ing, but sun­flow­ers do cheer up the summer gar­den with their huge yel­low flow­ers above fan­tas­ti­cally tall stems.

The sun­flower (Helianthus an­nuus) is tra­di­tion­ally sin­gle and yel­low, but there are dou­ble and red va­ri­eties, dwarfs and gi­ants, grow­ing up to 10ft tall. They can be eas­ily sown from seed in April, prefer­ably in the green­house or on a win­dowsill, and are an ideal start­ing plant for chil­dren.

Trans­fer them to the gar­den af­ter the last frosts. They will need sup­port early on as the heavy flow­ers will break the stems in wind or rain.

Keep them well­wa­tered in summer, as you will see the leaves wilt­ing quickly if the soil is dry, although they will re­cu­per­ate if you catch them quickly enough.

If you want a dif­fer­ent colour, go for ‘Prado Red’, or the deep orange ‘So­lar Eclipse’.

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