Tag Archives: gardening

And the Winners are . . .

The judging of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 took place on Saturday 28th July at Knoxie’s zoo themed birthday barbecue.

Party animals
Party animals

The biggest sunflowers were measured and Bulls, measuring in at 111 cm, was crowned the tallest. Bulls also won the first Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest in 2014. They were delighted to regain the title and take home another cheap, plastic, solar-powered, dancing sunflower.

Bulls win the Bull-Knox sunflower contest 2018
Bulls aim high

Despite none of the sunflowers blooming in time for the judging, Knoxie’s Uncle Mick was able to use his super-sensory, cheetah skills to determine  Naughty as the prettiest flower and winner of the Indie Award.

Naughty wins the Indie Award in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018
Naughty but nice

Holts, who had failed to appear throughout the whole contest, made a slightly suspicious late appearance on the judging day. However,  at just 50 cm it was still the shortest of the bunch.

Sunflower windmill
Better late than never

The final standings for the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018 are below:

  1. Bulls – 111 cm
  2. Naughty – 95 cm
  3. Bull-Knox – 92 cm
  4. Sparkly – 88 cm
  5. Team USA – 87 cm
  6. Gramps – 84 cm
  7. Shmelling – 83 cm
  8. Helomi – 83 cm
  9. Bears – 82 cm
  10. Sprilbey – 75 cm
  11. Buddha – 68 cm
  12. Pears – 52 cm
  13. Holts – 50 cm

Well done to all competitors, you’re all winners in my eyes!

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Naughty Sunflower Chased by Bulls and Bears

Naughty is leading the way in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2018. Bulls is currently the second tallest with Bears and Shmelling close behind.

The measurements and rankings as of this morning (14th June) are below:

1. Naughty – 35 cm
2. Bulls – 31 cm
3. Bears – 30 cm
4. Shmelling – 30 cm
5. Gramps – 28 cm
6. Team USA – 28 cm
7. Pears – 22 cm
8. Sprilbey – 20 cm
9. Bull-Knox – 15 cm
10. Sparkly – 14 cm
11. Buddha – 12 cm
12. Helomi – 10 cm
13. Holts – 0 cm

Left to right: Helomi, Bulls, Sprilbey, Pears, Bears, Shmelling, Bull-Knox, Gramps, Holts, Naughty, Team USA, Buddha, Sparkly.

Those at the bottom of the table should not despair. All flowers are in with a chance of winning the Indie Award for the prettiest flower. And, the bigger the flower the more likely it is to fall from the fence and be eaten by rabbits!

Bobaul and Bears are Early Bloomers

Bobaul was the first sunflower to show its pretty yellow face in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017. Bears followed, revealing a beautiful orangey red flower.

As gorgeous as they are, the early bloomers may have peaked too soon (putting their energy into displaying their flowers rather than reaching for the sky) to be able to catch the tallest competitors. However, they are both still in with a chance of winning the new award for 2017: The Indie Award for the prettiest flower.

With 10 days to go the tallest flower is hard to call with Em&Em, Shmelling, Pears and Gibbles all striving towards the sun.

Sunflowers along a blue fence
Race to the sky
Headless sunflower
Steclaire has lost its head!

Sad news for Steclaire who, although the plant still looks healthy, was found to be headless. The perpetrator of this horrific attack has not been found but a trail of slime was found on the upper leaves. I’m not sure if it’s scientifically possible but I’m rooting (sorry about the pun) for Steclaire to grow a new head and get back in the race.

The official judging takes place on 5th August 2017.

 

Sad News for the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest

Indie, the chief sunflower slayer, has passed away. Indie has been a big fan of the sunflower contest since it began and can be seen below hopping past the first flowers as a baby in 2014.

Indie (rabbit) and the sunflowers
Indie and the sunflowers

The next year she realised how tasty the flowers were and, along with her sister Pongo, fought through all defences to devour the plants.

Indie gave the competition an element of danger and will be hugely missed. But don’t worry, Pongo is still waiting to pounce on any sunflowers should they get too heavy and fall from their current safety on the fence.

Despite the sadness, the contest goes on and Gibbles has reached above the rest.

Sunflowers along a blue fence
Gibbles takes the lead

Shmelling has enjoyed a growth spurt and is  now neck and neck in second place with previous leader Em&Em.  Pears, Gramps, Bears, Steclaire and Choltman are hot  on their heels. Although slightly shorter, Ricarah, Bobaul, Bull-Knox, Moomins and Amme are all looking strong and could make a late burst. Judging takes place on 5th August. Who will be the tallest?

A Night-Time Nibbler is Enjoying the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017

An unidentified creature has been snacking on the sunflowers overnight. The worst affected flowers are Bears and Shmelling:

Bears have been bitten - Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Bears has been bitten!
Shmelling has been shmunched - Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Shmelling has been shmunched

Meanwhile, Indie the sunflower slayer, has been hoping the pots will become too heavy and fall from the fence:

Rabbit waiting for a sunflower to fall
Waiting patiently

Em&Em and Gibbles are still the tallest with Pears and Gramps close behind. But will the night-time nibbler strike again?

Sunflowers Shoot into the Lead

The sunflowers in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 are loving this sunny-one-minute-raining-the-next weather. All the flowers are reaching for the sun and drinking in the rain but three have shot into the lead.

Sunflower in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Em&Em shooting ahead
Sunflower in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Gibbles on the chase
Sunflower in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Bears are close!

All plants are looking healthy and the pots have all managed to stay attached to the fence so far.  But will the pots fall when the flowers get bigger and heavier?  The bunnies hope so.

One flower that’s not in danger of falling  is Shmelling:

Sunflower in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
Smelling needs some love.

Come on little one. Reach for the sun!

The Sunflowers are on the Fence

The competitors in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest have moved from the safety of the Moomins’ greenhouse to the Bull-Knox garden fence.

To prevent the carnage of the 2015 contest, when all the sunflowers were eaten by bunnies, pots have been attached to the fence out of the rabbits’ reach.

Le Bowd’s plant, maybe deciding the competition was too risky, failed to show up. This opened up a spot on the fence for substitute number one, Bobaul.

Sunflower didn't sprout
First casualty!
Substitution sunflower
First substitution!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby sunflowers in pots along the fence of the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017
On the fence!

The competitors (from left to right) are Pears, Gramps, Ricarah, Em&Em, Bears, Steclaire, Choltman, Bobaul, Bull-Knox, Moomins, Shmelling, Amme, and Gibbles.

Early leaders are Em&Em, Gibbles and Amme but all plants are looking healthy.

Substitute number two, Dojo, will return to the Moomins’ greenhouse and prepare itself to join the competition should another flower perish.

Baby sunflower
Sub 2 Dojo

Resident cuties, Pongo and Indie, destroyers of the 2015 sunflowers, are fuming about the new tactic to keep the flowers out of their reach. Will they find a way to get themselves a sunflower flavoured snack?

Rabbits
Seething!

The Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 has begun

After a year off, the Bull-Knox sunflower contest is back! And this time it’s bunny proof. We hope!

Demand for a seed in the 2017 contest has been higher than places available  so some people have teamed up to cheer on a seed together.

The competitors are Bull-Knox (me, Knoxie and Fozzy), Moomins (my mum and dad), Bears (Knoxie’s mum and dad), Gramps, Shmelling (Lemming and Carly), Choltman (Abi and Lauren), Em&Em (the two Emmas), Le Bowd, Gibbles, Amme, Steclaire (Steve and Claire), Ricarah (Richard and Sarah), and Pears (Kirsty, Helen, Mark and Kayleigh).

Plant pots with labels
The seeds are in!
Sunflower seeds in garden pots being watered
Drink up little sunflower seeds!

The seeds will be nurtured in Dad’s greenhouse until they are ready to take their place in the sun along the blue fence.

The aim of the game is to grow the tallest sunflower. Measuring will take place at Knoxie’s birthday barbecue in August. But the flowers have to survive first! And life won’t be easy. As well as the usual threat of snails, and stem rot, further danger awaits these sunflowers in the form of the Bull-Knox beasts.

Rabbit running towards camera
Pongo!
Black rabbit
Indie!
Dog in a garden
Fozzy!

 

 

Protective netting proved no match for the Bull-Knox resident bunnies, Pongo and Indie, in the 2015 sunflower contest. The rabbits breached the defenses, slayed the sunflowers and devoured them before they bloomed.

The competition didn’t take place in 2016 as we couldn’t think of a plan to keep the flowers safe. But genius o’clock has struck! This year the plan to safeguard the sunflowers is to keep them out of the rabbits’ reach. Instead of going in the ground, the flowers will go in pots attached several feet up the fence.

Colourful pots along a fence
Pots at the ready

We’re hoping this new tactic works. Come on sunflowers. We’re rooting for you!

How we Made a Reindeer for the Garden

We made garden reindeer by attending the reindeer making workshop at Wimpole Estate.

Ciaran, from the gardening team, made it look easy as he demonstrated how to do it.

How to Make Reindeer - Wimpole Estate Gardener

Now it was our turn to create a creature. We gathered up the materials:

  • A log for the body
  • A smaller log for the head
  • Four long sticks for legs
  • A shorter stick for the neck
  • Two sticks for ears
  • A conkers for the nose
  • A pine cone for the tail
  • Twigs for the antlers
  • A mallet
  • Glue
  • A nail to attach the nose
  • A staple and wire to attach the tail

Materials to make a reindeer

Ciaran had kindly drilled the holes already so we just had to fill the holes with glue and set about assembling our masterpieces.

Wooden reindeers
The finished product!

Transporting two  reindeer in a Renault Clio was probably the trickiest part.

One reindeer went to live at the Moomins’ house and the other was released into the wilds of our garden where it was soon greeted by the other residents.

Rabbit and reindeer
When Pongo met Twiggy

 

Saying hello nicely
Saying hello nicely!

Fozzy greeted the reindeer nicely and then decided she needed to get to know it a little better by sniffing it’s bottom.

Dog sniffing wooden reindeers bottom
Getting to know the reindeer better!

Merry Christmas!