After just a week in the shelter of Dad’s greenhouse, the competitors in the Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest 2017 have sprouted. Well, most of them. Le Bowd is yet to show itself and Steclaire is only just starting to peek out. Meanwhile, substitute number 1, Bobaul, is growing well and preparing to compete in place of a non-surviving starter.
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).
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.
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.
We’re hoping this new tactic works. Come on sunflowers. We’re rooting for you!
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.
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
- A nail to attach the nose
- A staple and wire to attach the tail
Ciaran had kindly drilled the holes already so we just had to fill the holes with glue and set about assembling our masterpieces.
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.
Fozzy greeted the reindeer nicely and then decided she needed to get to know it a little better by sniffing it’s bottom.
I love outdoor living but gardening is not really my thing so I decided to brighten up the garden by other means.
After a trip to Budapest, I was inspired by the colourful and quirky ruin bars, particularly Szimpla Kert, pictured below.
I purchased some spray paints in a variety of colours and gathered some items to spruce up. I already had dining room chairs, terracotta pots, a hammock stand and a lantern and I picked up a child’s bike (purely for decorative purposes) and a table from the local recycling centre.
Our rabbits like to eat the grass in the back garden and probably wouldn’t like the taste or toxicity of spray paint so I lay down a sheet in the front garden, moved my car well out of the way, and started spraying.
I was really pleased with the results.
I found an unusual plant pot to add extra decoration but Fozzy, our mini-labradoodle, did not approve.
The newly painted furniture was arranged in the corner of the garden and flags added to brighten up the wall.
The garden was now ready to be enjoyed by friends and family at the barbecue of the year.
We are down to the final five sunflowers of the competition.
The dawn netting repairs were not enough to keep the bunnies out this morning. They munched their way through all but two of the original competitors, leaving the sunflowers of just Moomin Papa and Abi remaining.
The final three substitutes belonging to Debbie, Nicky and Elena have now been planted.
The netting has been secured and pegged down so tight that if the bunnies do get through then they have well earned their snacks!
The final five, from left to right, belong to: Moomin Papa, Abi, Debbie, Nicky and Elena.
Indie was caught behind the protective netting this morning (Monday) and is the prime suspect in the case of another missing sunflower.
No further damage had been caused at the time of finding the bunny and Marky’s sunflower was still standing.
Indie was removed and the netting restored. However, just over an hour later, Marky’s plant was gone!
Security will be ramped up in an attempt to keep the remaining sunflowers safe!
Five sunflowers have been eaten by the bunnies!
While the Bull-Knoxes were out enjoying a barbeque today (Sunday), the hungry rabbits decided to have a feast of their own.
Pongo and Indie targeted the plants on the right side of the fence and devoured the sunflowers of Gilbey, Kathryn, Princess, John H and super sub Kevin.
Miraculously Marky’s sunflower, despite being in the middle of the attack, was left standing, although its leaves are a little nibbled.
The three remaining subs, Debbie, Nicky and Elena will now enter the contest and at this rate the winner will be the last sunflower standing!
Kevin’s sunflower has entered the competition and immediately taken the lead as the tallest.
The plant (far right) replaces Abbey’s sunflower which mysteriously went missing yesterday after Fozzy was seen playing with the netting.
John H’s plant was one of the forerunners but looks small next to the newcomer.
Kevin’s plant was 3rd sub and now faces the dangers of the Bull-Knox garden.
The other subs continue to prosper in safety. There is no guarantee they will get in the game but Fozzy and the bunnies are certainly doing their best!
Abbey’s sunflower is out of the contest.
Just a week after entering the competition as 2nd sub, Abbey’s plant has disappeared completely!
The sunflower was last seen this morning (Thursday 4th June).
Also this morning, Fozzy the puppy was spotted jumping onto the netting in an attempt to reach the plants and is therefore the prime suspect.
How can you be mad at this cutie though?
Kevin’s sunflower, the 3rd substitute, will now leave the safety of Moomin Papa’s greenhouse to take Abbey’s place.
The first two substitutes have taken their place in the Annual Bull-Knox Sunflower Contest.
Radders’ and Coops’ sunflowers are out of the competition after the bunnies broke through the security netting and munched the baby plants.
First and second substitutes Caz and Abbey are now in their places.
The four remaining subs, Kevin, Debbie, Nicky and Elena will be hopeful to get in the game soon!