Dad Grows 20ft Sunflower After Son Asks For One As Tall As The House
The flower is now a 20-foot high super-plant, which towers above the semi-detached home.
Douglas Smith, 42, from Stanstead Abbotts, Herts, planted the sunflower back in March and watched it thrive during lockdown.
Today he has to use a ladder to reach the top of the monster plant.
Douglas' four-year-old son Stellan would never have imagined that the fairy tale-worthy sunflower would climb way above the highest point of his home.
The mighty sunflower stands at 20 foot from the roots to the base of the petals - or just over 21 foot, if measured over the curve from where the flower has drooped downwards under its own weight.
As it stands, the current record for the tallest sunflower in Britain is held by Richard Hope, of Wigan, Greater Mancs., who set the record in 2012 with a whopping 26-foot tall flower.
Douglas' flower stands in a large wooden container 20 inches tall, and three foot in length by two foot in depth.
The garden-savvy dad said: "I had high hopes that it would still be growing - but I am glad that it's topped out a bit now.
"I think it's probably got maybe another inch or two left in it to grow, but it's pretty much done.
"I've had to rig the flower up on something that's a little bit like a flagpole, attached to the top of the wooden stake, so that it doesn't curve down too much under its own weight.
"It's flowering at the moment - there's probably another week or so of flowering left, and then I'm hoping to leave it standing for as long as I can, to collect most of the seeds."
The sunflower had a good chance of growing tall, as Douglas was given the seed in a swap with John Butler, who holds the current record for tallest sunflower in North America.
John's impressive plant stands at over 26 feet eight inches.
Douglas said: "A big part of it is to do with the genetics.
"I'm not sure specifically what variety of sunflower this is, but it's a bit like a thoroughbred horse - it came from a good start in life.
"But the flower will also reward any TLC you are able to give it. I go out to feed and water it a couple of times a day.
"I'm up the ladder at 7.30am most mornings - which certainly wakes me up."
Four-year-old Stellan is delighted with the sunflower's progress, too.
He said: "Earlier this year he said he wanted a sunflower as tall as the house. I don't think people at his nursery believe him when he tells them he actually has one."
Douglas is no stranger to growing large plants - having previously grown an enormous pumpkin, and a tomato that weighed almost three kilos.
Little Shop of Horrors worthy, right?
Featured Image Credit: SWNS