Council staff have been busy delivering free sunflower seed packs to schools across the Borough so pupils can get sowing and growing for entry into the popular Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition later this year.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor, Peter Johnston said: “This year we have delivered 7000 free packets of sunflower seeds to local school children as part of the Mid and East Antrim in Bloom campaign and community competitions.
"Last year’s winner was Evie Stirling, age 12, from Larne, whose sunflower grew to a magnificent 3 metres and 95 cms. Runners-up were Ella Blair, aged 10, from Carrickfergus with a mighty 3metre 55cm sunflower, and Cali McCormick, aged 5, from Carnlough, with a blooming 3metre 44cm tall sunflower. Do you think you can grow a taller sunflower this year?
"Last year, maybe more than any other, has emphasised the vital role that gardening and planting played – and continues to play – in the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the nation during lockdown and restrictions.
"Reports are showing that gardening, especially for our younger residents who have not been able to venture out as much this year, played a key part in stress reduction. Other benefits being having time to watch their sunflowers grow and encourage bees and other wildlife into their gardens and green spaces, making these their sanctuary.
"If you don't have a garden, don't worry. Sunflowers can be grown in pots if you have a nice bright and sunny indoor space to put them. Protect the young plants from slugs and snails and water your sunflowers regularly. You may also need to stake them if they’re in an exposed position.”
Sunflower seeds have also been made available for community groups to apply for.