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And the winner is….

Date Published: 30/09/2009

…. not altogether a surprise. Let’s face it, if you’ve been following our sunflower shenanigans you’ll be well aware that there’s been a clear leader for a while now.

However, today we have the full results and can put to bed a very colourful episode at The Old Estate Yard.

There has been controversy, competitiveness, secret recipes and devastating rabbit damage. The competition has been reported in a leading trade publication and posts on the topic have had a disturbing tendency to top the “most read” list on this blog.

So without further ado, let the ceremony commence:


Ladies and Gentlemen – and Certification Officers,

The OF&G sunflower growing competition was the product of an inspired suggestion made at a staff meeting while the company “gardening club” was being discussed.

Obviously there was a great deal of work to be done to ensure the success of such a mighty undertaking, but after 12 committee meetings and legal approval of the proposed rules and regulations (a document only slightly more involved in its preparation than the Magna Carta), our intrepid entrants were free to unleash their horticultural skills.

Meticulous planning was demonstrated by some of the more committed entrants, while some simply opted to drop in a seed and draw faces on their plant pots.

As growing began in earnest, there were some testing times along the way, as well as challenging hurdles to be negotiated.

Not all entrants made it serenely to the eventually necessary re-potting stage, though special mention has to be made of the specimen that was, to all intents and purposes, completely devoured by a rabbit, only to come storming back to an eventually mid-field placing. A sunflower we can salute for its true Dunkirk spirit!

It is likely that this ceremony will not be the final chapter in the story for those who were there. The debate on the selection of suitable finishing pots will rumble on in years to come. But today is our chance to recognise commitment, achievement and skill. And with that we open the envelope of dreams…

In reverse order:

Processing CO, Ruth Lamb107cm (died due to lack of water. Tch)

Processing CO, Joanna Gleeson116cm (Commended for most attractively decorated seedling pot)

Producer CO, Katie Owens123cm (worthy, but disappointing)

Quality Systems Admin, Lorraine Pickering132cm (alleged ‘secret feed’ proved, well, pointless)

Producer CO, Nicola Mason146cm (the famous rabbit-mauling comeback)

Office Manager, Angela Norman170cm (arguably our most green-fingered person. Was she mugged?)

And the clear winner, with a delightful specimen that could probably make two dozen bottles of oil all on its own…

Producer CO, Alex Patchett205cm (cor blimey, wot a whopper!)

Congratulations to Alex. Please step up and take your bow:

Our worthy winner. Alex Patchett with his impressive entry.
Our worthy winner. Alex Patchett with his impressive entry.

And with that, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported this endeavour, including: our worldwide Twitter followers; the Chief Executive, for not shutting it down when it all got a bit silly; Stephen Clarkson, the judge and jury; our mums; the sun; the great British summer; and especially the bees. But not the rabbit.