Wooper and Bull-Knox First to Bloom

Sunflowers, Wooper and Bull-Knox, have bloomed in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020.

Bull-Knox was the first to show its pretty face and was shortly followed by Wooper.

Bull-Knox
Wooper

As pretty as these leaders are, they may have blown their chance at winning the contest. Early bloomers often stop growing, and their looks may have faded before the contest judging day where the tallest and the prettiest sunflowers are crowned.

Still, they look great now and it’s the taking part that counts.

Wooper, Naughty, Sprilbey, Shmelling, and Gramps.

Shmelling is the tallest so far! Will she be caught?

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Naughty sunflower still leading the way

Four sunflowers are peeking over the side fence. Naughty, who was first to sprout, was also the first to reach fence height in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020. She was shortly followed by neighbouring competitors,  Shmelling, Sprilbey and Wooper.

Positions to the right of the side fence seem to be the place to be with all flowers growing well. Helomi is still struggling height wise in the middle of the fence, although she appears to be healthy.

Sunflowers along the side fence
Team side fence

Four of the sunflowers along the front fence were late to the party  and have some catching up to do.

sunflowers along a blue fence
Front fence squad

All competitors are enjoying the sunshine and will be hoping for more in their quest to advance skywards.

New arrivals take their places

Steclaire, Buddha, Carmma and Holts finally made it to Fort Bull-Knox on Sunday. They had initially been too weak or hadn’t sprouted and organisers feared they would all make an early exit from the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020. The troubled plants were given extra time under the special care of Moomin Papa and have all made fantastic recoveries.

Two spares had been planted at the outset and, as all the original competitors have made it into the Fort Bull-Knox garden, the spares were adopted by two keen sunflower contest fans. Welcome to the contest and good luck to Dennis and Fozzy.

All of the arrivals were planted in random order along the front fence.

Meanwhile, the plants along the side fence have been growing well, with the exception of Helomi. There’s always one!

The flowers were measured on 17th May 2020 and here are the standings.

Team USA 40
Shmelling 39.5
Knoxley 39
Bull-Knox 38
Flower 38
Wooper 38
Baby G 37
Gramps 36
Naughty 36
Moomins 32
Sprilbey 28
Steclaire 26
Bears 22
Helomi 19
Dennis 19
Carmma 9
Holts 9
Fozzy 8
Buddha 5

 Team USA is leading the way.

Sunflower plant Tallest

Buddha needs some encouragement.

Tiny sunflower Smallest

The 2020 competitors reach Fort Bull-Knox…mostly

Most of the sunflowers have been transferred to the hallowed soil of Fort Bull-Knox and were planted in random order along the fence.

Side fence (left to right): Baby G, Bull-Knox, Flower, Knoxley, Moomins, Helomi, Gramps, Shmelling, Sprilbey , Naughty, Wooper
Front fence (left to right): Team USA, Bears

Baby sunflowers along the fence
Take your places.

The remaining four flowers, Buddha, Carmma, Holts and Steclaire, took self isolation too far and failed to show up for the contest. In the spirit of lockdown love, they have been given a second chance and will remain under the care of Moomin Papa until they decide to join the fun. They will then be planted along the front fence if or when they are ready.

So, who’s looking good so far? I hear you cry from afar.

Gramps is looking strong.

Gramps, a competitor in the 2020 contest
Gramps 

Flower and Knoxley are in good shape.

Flower and Knoxley, two competitors in the contest
Flower and Knoxley

Sprilbey and Wooper are doing well.

Sprilbey and Wooper
Sprilbey and Wooper

Bears is probably the smallest of the bunch so far but baby bears often grow into big bears!

Bears, a competitor in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020
Baby Bear

The tallest flower on judging day will be crowned the winner of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020. Those that can’t be big can still be beautiful and will be in with a chance of winning the Indie award for the prettiest sunflower.

Naughty Sunflower Leads Others Astray

Naughty was the first flower to sprout in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020.

Naughty’s appearance into the open air of Moomin Papa’s greenhouse was shortly followed by other competitors:

Baby G
Bull-Knox
Flower (nee Daisy)
Knoxley
Gramps
Shmelling
Sprilbey
Wooper (nee Pears)

Sprouters!

Now we hold our breath in suspense (and to keep out the germs) to see if the remaining flowers join the fun.

Coronavirus Can’t Stop the Sunflower Contest

Glastonbury, Euro 2020, Wimbledon and the Olympics may be cancelled but the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2020 is on!

The aim of the game is simple: Be tall, and if you can’t be tall be pretty!

Previous contests have seen sunflowers destroyed by snails, rabbits, and strong winds. Threats of sabotage have been made. Plastic flowers have been planted in an attempt to trick the judges. And a tomato plant even joined the line up in 2019!

2020 brings an additional challenge. Will the sunflowers survive the coronavirus pandemic?

The Moomins took on the duty of planting the seeds from the safety of their garden while in self isolation.

Moomin Papa with the 2020 competitors
Competitors ready!

The competitors, in alphabetical order, are listed below:

  • Baby G
  • Bears
  • Buddha
  • Bull-Knox
  • Carmma
  • Flower
  • Gramps
  • Helomi
  • Holts
  • Knoxley
  • Moomins
  • Naughty
  • Pears
  • Shmelling
  • Sprilby
  • Steclaire
  • Team USA

Good luck to all the competitors and keep safe all. May the odds be ever in your favour.

Cover Reveal: Exile: Unreachable Skies, Volume 2 by Karen McCreedy

Mirror World Publishing presents the cover reveal for Exile: Unreachable Skies, Volume 2 by Karen McCreedy!

About Exile:

Zarda, Fate-Seer of her people, the Drax, has chosen to join the wingless and their broken-winged dams on their long and dangerous journey into exile. But Kalis, the Prime she has abandoned, dispatches flyers to hunt her down and offers a reward to anyone who will give her up.

When their path takes them into the Crimson Forest, horror and death stalk the exiles beneath the vines. As the pain and hardship of banishment begin to take their toll, Zarda wonders which of the exiles will be the first to betray her, but nothing can prepare her for the discovery that awaits her beyond the furthest reaches of Drax territory; a discovery that has the power to alter the course of history.

Exile’ is the sequel to ‘Unreachable Skies’, and Karen is currently working on the third book in the trilogy.

Book Details:

Print Length: 286 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure

The Cover:
Read a Teaser Excerpt:

The females, their wings broken by Kalis’ new Elite Guard, had been netted over the river along with their younglings, and had been left on the claw of reed-tufted sand that jutted into the ocean from the Manybend estuary’s north shore. As I’d circled over the nines of fires, their spiralling layout had shown that someone had taken charge of setting the camp properly, and my sole concern had been finding somewhere to land without being seen. In the end I had set down on the beach to the north, wetting my feet as I landed at the edge of the incoming tide. Taking care to make sure I would not leave any traces of my approach, I had walked along the tideline till I reached the promontory at daybreak. I had intended to find my friend Doran and make myself known to her, but the sound of raised voices had drawn my attention, and I had instead made my way across the camp to the ridge of snow-covered ground that separated the hook of sand from the mud of the Deadlands. I smelled cooking – branmeal bubbling in a pot to my left, meat patties warming in a pan to my right. My stomachs rumbled a protest that I was not stopping to eat, but my attention was on the group at the foot of the slope where Shaya stood, and the arguments that I could now hear more clearly.

Visit the Tour Hosts:

https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/2019/08/cover-reveal-tour-host-list-exile.html

Meet the Author:

Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen now lives in West Sussex where she is enjoying her retirement. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching films, local WI and U3A activities, volunteering with the South Downs National Park Volunteer Rangers, and spending time with friends and family. She has also flown in a Spitfire!

Karen has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. In 2009, her essay on ‘British Propaganda Films of the Second World War’ was published in ‘Under Fire: A Century of War Movies’ (Ian Allen Publishing).

She also wrote a number of online articles and reviews for The Geek Girl Project (www.geekgirlproject.com), as their British correspondent.

Karen’s short stories have appeared in anthologies by Fiction Brigade (2012, e-book), Zharmae Publishing (‘RealLies’, 2013), Audio Arcadia (‘On Another Plane’, 2015), Luna Station Publishing (‘Luna Station Quarterly’ December 2015), Horrified Press (‘Killer Tracks’ and ‘Waiting’, both 2015; and ‘Crossroads’, 2016), and Reflex Fiction (‘Voicemail’, published online 2017). She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.

Exile’ is the sequel to ‘Unreachable Skies’, and Karen is currently working on the third book in the trilogy.

You can follow Karen on Twitter @McKaren_Writer, or check out her website at www.karenmccreedy.com

The Results of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2019 are in

Ricarah soars up to the sky to be hailed the tallest flower, and Daisy is named the prettiest sunflower.

The step ladders had to come out of the shed for judging day of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2019.

Lady up ladder measuring the tallest sunflower

Ricarah was the tallest, measuring in at a whopping 266 cm. Shmelling was the next tallest at 258 cm with Gramps close behind on 257 cm.

Ricarah, Shmelling and others are yet to bloom so could get taller but it’s the height on judging day that matters!

As it was Knoxie’s birthday weekend she accepted the invitation to judge the prettiest flower to win the Indie Award 2019.

Sprilby and Moomins were close contenders but after much consideration, Daisy was declared the prettiest sunflower.

The final measurements for all the competitors are below (in centimeters) along with Knoxie’s comments in the judging of the prettiest flower:

Ricarah 266 Not out yet, late to party
Shmelling 258 Not out yet, late to party
Gramps 257 Facing the wrong way, prefers the neighbours
Bears 247 Lots of buds
Daisy 233 Pretty face, lots of buds and favoured by bees
Naughty 230 Lots of buds
Pears 225 Nice leaves and pretty face
Sprilby 222 Good face and leaves are in good nick
Helomi 215 Not out yet, late to party
Team USA 212 Has a bumble bee on, attractive to bees
Buddha 198 Not out yet, late to party
Bull-Knox 197 Bent over and a bit dead
Baby G 196 Wonky face and has been eaten by insects
Steclaire 190 Not open yet and has a bent stem
Moomins 182 Cute with lots of little buds but face is still coming out
Dennis the Menace 160 Very dead and bent over like an old man
Holts 154 Moon face

Chart of sunflower growth
How the sunflowers grew

The relocation of the contest from the rabbity dangers of the back garden into the front garden has been a success. For the first time ever, all sunflowers survived the duration of the contest, and record heights have been achieved.

Well done to all competitors and thank you for taking part. Tune in next year for the 2020 competition.

Trials and tribulations of sunflowers