A gardener has grown the UK’s tallest sunflower – and banked a £1,000 prize.

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Richard Hope’s towering specimens, grown against a sunny wall of his house, reached the apex, three storeys up!

The tallest stood at 24ft (7.2m) – but it was shy of the world record by 4ft 8in (1.4m).

Richard, of Wigan, is well-known on the giant veg-growing circuit.

He’s previously held world records for the biggest swede, heaviest leek and longest parsnip.

Richard grew sunflowers in makeshift containers, claiming to have used no specialist feeding formula.

He said: “I used salmon boxes with large, bottomless pots set over them, similar to tomato ring culture method.

“It gives the plants about two-and-a-half feet of compost to grow in. There are no real tricks to feeding my plants either. I use whatever is in the shed.”

For 35 years Richard has been hand-pollinating his plants; saving seeds from the tallest and sowing them the following year. His aim was to build a superior sunflower strain.

Thompson & Morgan launched the sunflower competition in spring.

Boss Paul Hansord said the UK didn’t have much sunshine this year but added that sunflowers still performed well.

Paul said: “When Richard’s entry hit our inbox, we couldn’t believe it.”