I know, I know a sunflower is not exactly out of the ordinary, but we've been trying to grow one for three years now....
alright I tell a lie. We tried growing one for two years, realised it was a royal pain in the backside and gave it up as a bad job.
The first year we filled four huge planters and put six seeds in each figuring that we could thin all but the strongest seedling from each pot and we'd be on our merry way to a garden full of sunflowers. Ah no ... the seeds were obviously duff and not one even bothered to give the whole growing malarkey a go.
The second year we figured that maybe the seeds didn't like big pots to begin with, so we planted them in little starter pots and waited patiently, finally four seeds started to grow and we forced ourselves to be patient a little longer (they don't exactly rush themselves do they?) until the seedlings were fairly sturdy before transferring them to larger pots. Only one survived a full week and the cat promptly made in the pot and used the poor seedling to bury it's business.
So we gave up, figuring that sunflowers clearly just didn't have the moxy required to survive our garden, never mind the freaky one eyed cat with a meow that sounds like a strangled car horn.
Plus Chloe was really starting to hate us because we made the mistake of not only telling her about sunflowers, but also being dumb enough to show her the picture on the front of the packet.
You can imagine our joy when in the last week of school she arrived home with a seedling (which honestly looked a little hungover) in a yogurt pot of all things and proudly announced that she'd grown a sunflower. I didn't have the heart to tell her that we'd no bother growing the things last year, just getting them into a bigger pot was the problem.
We popped it on the window ledge in the kitchen and waited until it was ready to get up and walk out of the yogurt pot all by itself before we gently moved it to a larger pot, sat back and waited for it to pop it's clogs.
But it didn't. It grew. And I googled to see how big they get, 3ft -15ft! 3 foot sunflower it is then, it can't get much bigger than that in my garden.
Well 3ft came and went and still no sign of a flower, 4 and 5 ft came and went and still no sign of a flower.
Chloe's lost all interest by this stage and has done a crafty bunk down to the back of the garden and is eating the peas without so much as picking them off the plant, let alone shelling the things.
6, 7 and 8ft came and went and still no flower. By now my mum has commented that it looks rather triffid like and asks if I've pissed off Chloe's teacher by any chance! Um ...
Finally at 8 ft 7 in the beginnings of a flower appear. I desperately try and hold my tongue because I know if I tell Chloe that it will have a flower soon a storm will blow it over or something and she'll hate me again. A storm does blow it over, twice!
But there it is with a beautiful big flower on top and I run to tell Chloe to come look at her sunflower.
"What sunflower", she asks!
She's getting daffs next year!