Are these Carlisle's tallest sunflowers?


Standing at more than 12ft tall, they can be seen peeking over the wall in John Ivison's garden.

For the past few years, the 92-year-old has made a habit of growing sunflowers at his Stanwix home in Carlisle - but this year's are the tallest to date.

The seeds are first planted by his son-in-law, Laurence Langley, and the sunflowers are then handed over to John where they continue to grow over the course of the summer.

"I've been doing it for a few years now," John told The Cumberland News. "It probably started four or five years ago and I've just kept doing it.

The ones that we grow are usually quite tall but these are the tallest one's we've had so far

"My son-in-law starts them up and then he brings them over to me."

Growing sunflowers is a popular hobby around the world - with the tallest ever recorded standing at 30ft and 1in, grown in Germany in 2014.

"The ones that we grow are usually quite tall but these are the tallest one's we've had so far, they're about 12 feet," John added. "There's probably about 10 of them in total."

A quick search online reveals a raft of tips, tricks and techniques to help sunflowers grow to extraordinary heights, but John said that his technique has been extremely simple.

"I put a bit of feed in and keep them watered and that's about it, really," he explained.

However he said that a wet Cumbrian summer may have also provided a helping hand.

"It's been quite a wet summer, so that extra rain probably helped them to grow as well."

Asked whether he has ever considered growing sunflowers for a competition, John, whose wife Joyce also helps to maintain the plants, said: "To be honest I've never heard of that sort of thing.

"When we're done we just cut them down and they go in the green garden waste bin."

However John said that he hopes to continue growing sunflowers next year - but does not know whether he will be able to match or even beat his current effort.

"Laurence saw some that were about 20ft high, so I don't know if we'll be able to do that. I think they were against a wall, which might've helped.

"I'm 92 so I want to keep growing them."

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