Parklands school pupils challenge county’s green fingers to grow tallest sunflower

Posted by / Wednesday 20 April 2016 /

With Spring officially here, pupils from Parklands school, a special needs school near Abingdon are challenging green-fingered enthusiasts of all ages from across Oxfordshire to join them in a competition to grow the county’s tallest sunflower.

In recent weeks, students at Action for Children’s Parklands Campus have been hard at work researching the best advice for growing the tallest crop and planting their entries around the school grounds.

Principal of the school, Sean Cannon, said: “We want gardeners of all ages and abilities across Oxfordshire to join us for our sunflower competition, and live and breathe our school belief of ‘ex-seeding expectations!’

“We’re inviting everyone, whether green fingered or not, to share photos of their progress with us over the coming months before submitting their final photo ahead of the competition deadline on Monday 12 September.

“The owner of the tallest sunflower will win a top-notch, gourmet lunch prepared, cooked and served by our very own students, as part of their catering course. So, buy your seeds, dig out your gardening gloves, and get planting!”



Entrants are asked to tweet their photos using @campusparklands or email them to Entries must include at least one picture of the seeds being planted and one of the final submission, to be sent in before the deadline of Monday 12 September 2016.

To help competitors get growing, Parklands pupil, Josh, has compiled this set of top tips:


Josh - pupil at Action for Children's Parklands Campus, near Abingdon

1. Plant your seeds now as the Spring starts to warm up

2. Put about five seeds together in a hole in the soil about one inch deep

3. Make sure you leave enough space between each hole – if they are going to be in with a chance of winning they will need the room!

4. Water them every day for around 10 days.

Interesting fact – once the plant starts growing you won’t see a head for about 33 days – cool eh?!

5. Once they do start growing you’ll see that in each patch of seeds there’s a strong looking plant – that’s the one you need to concentrate on so carefully get rid of the others.

6. Keep watering them but only a little bit once a week.

7. It will take about 60 days for the sunflower to be fully grown.

8. Once you are happy make sure you take a picture and send in your entry


Good luck!