Giant sunflowers garner attention in Chesley


cjos bluemer family

Move over, Big Bruce. There are new giants in Chesley.

Goldie, Stretch and Stumpy as they are affectionately known, are three triumphant giant sunflowers growing on the front lawn of Evan and Tessa Bleumer’s residence on the quiet and appropriately named Tower Road in Chesley.

Soaring as high as 15 feet in the air, these giants have captured the curiosity of a community and have left many wondering just how high they will continue to climb.

According to Mr. Bleumer, a master electrician by day and novice horticulturalist by night and father of three-year-old twin boys, the flowers will soon be reaching their peak. “Now that the heads have begun to flower and the seeds are filling out, I think they’ve pretty well reached their maximum height,” he stated.

Those flowers are quite a sight to behold and have been turning heads and dropping jaws in Chesley throughout the spring and summer. Bleumer has been experimenting with growing giant sunflowers for a couple of years and decided this was the year to take his garden to the next level – and the front lawn.

“I knew what varieties of sunflowers I wanted to plant but I wasn’t sure exactly how big they would get. I’ve had mixed success over the years, and it was that uncertain curiosity that gave me the idea to start a contest.”

Bleumer worked up three small plots on his lawn and tossed a handful of mixed sunflower seeds into each.

The three varieties used were High Hopes, American Giant and Giganteus.

After a week or two they started to sprout, but which seeds had persevered and were growing remained a mystery.

Once they were of noticeable height, Bleumer launched his curbside contest.

He gave his three sprouts names and signs and then every day from mid-April to June 1 he put out a ballot box and asked passersby to guess which sunflower would grow the tallest and what height it would reach.

A $50 cash prize will be awarded to the closest guesser when the contest closes at the end of August. 

It wasn’t long before word began to spread and traffic started picking up on the otherwise sleepy street.

“At first participation was a little slow but as the stalks began to grow the contest really took off. It was great to see so many people walking their dogs or pushing their strollers stop and take time to submit a guess.”

The traffic continued even after the contest closed, with participants and curious observers regularly passing by to watch the progress in amazement.

Stumpy got off to a great start but Stretch wasn’t far behind.

Goldie struggled slightly out of the gate.

As July rolled around and all three flowers surpassed the 6-foot mark, Goldie began closing the gap on Stretch.

By the end of July each of the sunflowers was more than 11-feet tall, but Stumpy is all but officially the winner, having already crested 15-feet.

“I’m really happy with how all three sunflowers have performed. I was a little nervous at the start because I wasn’t sure how it would go, but all three really turned out to be spectacular,” noted Bleumer.

The winner of the Tower Park Tallest Sunflower Contest will be named on Sunday, August 28.

If you want to see the giant sunflowers for yourself, you can find them at 56 Tower Road in Chesley, Ontario.

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