2015, Year of the Sunflower
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

2015, Year Of The Sunflower

Sunflowers are easy to grow and have many different uses

In 2015 the Sunflower is being promoted in garden centres in all the major European countries. There will be in-store videos showing you how to sow and use them. We will be promoting Sunflowers throughout the store, with the emphasis on our mini-gardeners, with our Budding Young Gardeners Club.

There are so many uses for Sunflowers, that there is no excuse for not growing them. We will be holding a competition for primary school children to win various prizes for their school. The details of this will be announced in April. If you have a cottage style garden incorporate some of the daintier varieties in your planting scheme. Try growing varieties of differing heights to screen off the neighbours or an eyesore. Grow some in a wildlife friendly garden and leave the heads on over winter to provide an energy-rich food for finches, sparrows, tits and siskins. They are a super health food, containing Vitamin E, essential fatty acids (good for the heart), magnesium, selenium and zinc. They are also an excellent source of protein for a vegetarian diet. Most parts are edible; roast the seeds and eat them as a snack, in biscuits, cakes or added to muesli to kick-start your day. The hearts can be stuffed and braised. If you sow too many seeds eat the sprouts at a few inches high in stir-fries or salads. The older leaves can be cooked as you would any leafy greens.


Sutton’s Seeds have introduced a new Sunflower called ‘Giraffe’ especially for growing for the ‘tallest Sunflower’ competitions; it can reach a height of 4.5m (15'). 30p from every packet sold will be donated to Greenfingers Children's Charity. Other tall growing varieties to try are: Giant Yellow (height 1.8 – 2.7m, 6 – 9’); Big, Tall Sunflower (height 4.2m, 14’) and Russian Giant (height 3m, 10’). If you don’t fancy a ‘giant’ try one of the different varieties, such as: Peach Passion; Ruby Sunset; Valentine or Key Lime Pie. If you think not having a garden lets you off growing a Sunflower, think again, there are small varieties to grow in a pot outside the front door, such as: Teddy Bear; Chocolate Chip or Irish Eyes.

Check out the blog article on ‘How to Grow Sunflowers’; and keep an eye on our web site for details of competitions and events being held in store. We have a Budding Young Gardeners event on wednesday 8th and thursday 9th April 2015 at 1pm and 3pm. This will be painting a terracotta pot and then sowing a sunflower seed. It costs £3 for Budding Young Gardeners members and £5 for non-members. Booking is advisable as places will be limited.