Mary Chambers (99) enjoying amazing 9 foot sunflowers at Sutton Bridge home
A 99-year-old great-grandma from Sutton Bridge is enjoying gazing out at nine-foot tall sunflowers as her precious plants hit surprising heights.
Mary Chambers, who turns 100 on August 26, has been blessed with the large flowers - which have relished the growing conditions of the summer sunshine.
The long-term Sutton Bridge resident has had help from daughter Janet Neave - but has always enjoyed growing sunflowers that loom large, such as these that tower over her six-foot fence.
Great grandson Eddy Neave told the Spalding Guardian: "It was surprising how big they have grown but she does have a track record of growing really tall sunflowers.
"She loves gardening - she used to always be out there gardening. As she's got older she hasn't been able to do as much. My nan helps her and plants flowers for her to look at. Her bedroom is overlooking the garden."
Mary and Janet's impressive effort comes as Vine House Farm reported its earliest sunflower crop in more than a decade following the recent heatwave.
The bright yellow blooms were in colour two weeks earlier than usual at the Deeping St Nicholas farm, which grows the flowers for seeds used in bird feed.
Sunflowers fill 100 acres of fields at the farm, the equivalent of 50 football pitches, with an estimated 12 million heads.
Manager Lucy Taylor said the recent weather had been “perhaps more akin to the south of France than the Midlands”.
Ms Taylor said: “The last time we’ll have seen something like this I can’t really remember, probably 15 years ago or something like that. It’s a once in 20 years sort of occasion, a fortnight early.”
She said the dry conditions “won’t have detrimentally affected” the plants, which have a tap root that grows deep into the soil to search for moisture.
She said the warm and dry weather also helped the sunflowers to germinate faster, potentially saving many of them from pecking pigeons.
Ms Taylor added: “Because it was such lovely weather when we drilled them, they popped out of the soil really quickly and perhaps caught the pigeons unguarded so to speak, so they weren’t on the crop like they normally would be. That’s meant we’ve probably got a thicker crop than what we normally would have because of the fantastic growing conditions from the word go.”
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