As gardeners know all too well, money doesn’t grow on trees. But it does grow on sunflowers – if you’re skilled enough to cultivate a whopper!


Richard Hope of Wigan banked £2,000 after he won a Thompson & Morgan competition to grow the UK’s tallest sunflower this year.

Richard’s sunflower, at 26ft 5in (8.04m) was a “clear winner” – but his entry was 3ft 8in (1.1m) shy of the world record, which was set in 2014 by Hans-Peter Schiffer of Germany with a sunflower that grew to 30ft 1in (9.14m) tall.

Richard’s sunflowers grew against a sunny wall of his house, with the tallest plant towering above the top of his roof!

T&M had offered a prize of £1,000 for the UK’s tallest sunflower; doubling it to £2,000 if the winner used the firm’s Incredibloom fertiliser.

The mail-order company said it would have doubled the money again to £4,000, had a world record been broken.

Richard said: “It takes complete dedication from beginning to end. It’s best to grow your plants up a south-facing structure, like a tall wall.”

Richard used seed from his previous year’s crop of sunflowers, which also won the T&M prize in 2015.

He is well-known on the giant veg circuit, having held world records for the biggest swede, heaviest leek and longest parsnip.