On 21 September, our Operations team launched a wonderful initiative that sought to bring a burst of sunshine into this at times gloomy year.
Armed with seeds, soil and spades 99 members of our operations team took on the challenge of planting sunflowers, with a prize going to the tallest of the bunch at the end of the challenge period.
"We decided to launch this challenge because we all needed something to focus our energy on that would bring us a little bit of laughter, some mindfulness and contact with nature," shared Anna-Marie Accadia, Operations Manager and sunflower challenge spearhead.
"We have a number of people in our Ops team who are gifted green-thumbs so we knew we’d have some serious competition, but it also made the novice gardeners in the group get their gardening game on."
Fast-forward three months and we have many sunflowers growing proudly in homes and gardens across Melbourne (we sadly lost a number to snails, wind and unruly pets). The tallest of the bunch and the prize winner is a sunflower named ‘Himawari’ (Japanese for 'sunflower'), grown by Cheryl Kessels, SMCT Gardener. The plant is measuring at 146 cm and while it hasn’t produced any flowers just yet, we have a feeling it’s not long now.
Coming in second place is a 123cmsunflower plant called 'Gary', grown by Russell Thomas and boasting the only flower of the group!Sunflower plant 'Paul' grown by Andy McCaw came in third place, with Cathy Tzouvelis' plant 'Mr Brightside' finishing in close fourth. Special congratulations are also in order for the very creative efforts in the plant-pot décor category.
So, if you’re looking for a project over summer, perhaps a way to get the kids in the garden through some healthy competition, grab a spade and grow yourself a little bit of sunshine.