The story of Stellan and the Sunflower may not be as magical as that of Jack and the Beanstalk (what with the latter’s ogre and golden-egg-laying hen), but it’s not a half bad one either. And it would go something like this.
Once upon a time, in Stanstead Abbotts, England, Douglas Smith’s four-year-old son Stellan asked him to grow a sunflower “as tall as the house.”
So on March 28, the 42-year-old father planted a seed that turned into a plant that just grew – and grew – and grew… Until it reached so high that it towered over their two-story home at 20 feet!
Smith needs a ladder to tend to it, and hopes to do so until it finishes flowering so he can collect its seeds. According to Smith, the plant might grow another inch or two, but it’s likely done now.
Smith is no stranger to growing large plants. He has grown giant veggies before. In this case, the seed came from John Butler, current record-holder for the tallest sunflower in North America, growing one that is 26 feet 8 inches.
Smith had a feeling the sunflower would thrive during lockdown. Says Smith, “I’m not sure specifically what variety of sunflower this is, but it’s a bit like a thoroughbred horse – it came from a good start in life.”