To celebrate the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Year of the Sunflower’, Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex has planted over 1,000 of the bright and bold flowers.
Expected to be in flower from late-July to September, with the peak in August, the sunflowers will make their appearance in four flower beds around the garden – one by the lake, an experimental flower bed, one in the tea room garden full of the traditional tall sunflowers, and one containing dwarf varieties such as Little Leo and Ms Mars, showcasing how these smaller types can be just as ornamental and striking as their larger cousins.
The bright yellow, orange and red sunflowers arranged along the water’s edge at Sheffield Park have been planted to mirror the autumn colours the garden is so famous for. They will also add a new dimension to the garden’s colourful summer display which already consists of blankets of water lillies and wild flowers among the tall grasses.
In the trial bed, the flowers will be given varying amounts of sunlight, food and water to test which growing conditions they prefer.
Andy Jesson, Head Gardener at Sheffield Park and Garden said: “Arthur Gilstrap Soames, the owner of Sheffield Park in the early 20th century was a keen experimental gardener, and we think he would approve of the trial flower beds to test which growing conditions best cause the sunflowers to flourish”.
The sunflower theme will be continued throughout the property in July and August, with a children’s trail in the school holidays, decorative items for sale in the shop and sunflowers will make an appearance on the tearoom menu. At the end of the summer, after the petals have faded and the flower beds are empty, the sunflower heads will be used to create bird feeders scattered around the garden, as the seeds are a favourite of woodpeckers, nuthatches and blue tits.
Sheffield Park and Garden is open 10am to 5pm every day.