Four-year-old grows winning sunflower


Grove Street Kindergarten’s Charlie Heathfeild-Offen grew a winning sunflower, three times his size.

Over the past four months, just under 600 budding preschool gardeners from around the region have been learning about gardening by growing their own sunflowers as part of the 2015 Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project.

Charlie became Daltons’ Best Little Gardener and won the regional award for his 271.5cm sunflower.

Charlie says he had fun planting and watering his towering sunflower plant.

“It’s bigger than a building,” says Charlie.

Participating kindergartens received a starter pack, from there it’s up to them and Grove Street Kindergarten teacher, Karen Tait says Charlie definitely rose to the challenge.

“It’s amazing, we’ve had to keep putting stake upon stake to tie it up so it doesn’t break in the wind, it’s very impressive,” says Karen.

“He put worm weeds on it, fertilised it and watered it everyday, he even looked after his brothers one and that was the second tallest.”

Karen says the secret is lots of fertiliser, worm weeds, lots of water and a bit of TLC.

“We have participated and won for three years now, which is fantastic! The kids have really gotten on board and taken responsibility for their own sunflowers, showing their parents their progress every day. The kids have even started planting flowers and veggies at home to continue their newfound love of gardening.”

In it’s third year, the project saw over 12,800 preschoolers take part throughout New Zealand.

The winning national sunflower came from Aukland’s Taupaki Kindergarten and stands 280cm tall.

Daltons General Manager, Colin Parker says the project is about “inspiring young kiwi gardeners by giving them the opportunity to get their hands dirty and experience how much fun and enjoyment they can have in the garden.”