Chilliwack couple grow giant surprise in small backyard

Although they didn’t plant it, the Rosses grew a towering sunflower in their backyard garden

Bill and Lilly Ross live in a housing community south of Chilliwack’s downtown core, and although they have well-maintained gardens and colourful flower pots lining their back deck, it’s the tall, mysterious guest who has the neighbourhood talking.

“I never planted it,” said Bill Ross, who’s a retired forensic psychologist. “It must’ve been our little friends, the squirrels.”

Outside and to the left of the Ross’s back patio stands a sunflower that, at almost 12-feet tall, easily dwarfs anything or anyone on the property. And although they didn’t plant it, the Rosses let the sunflower be to see what it would become.

Having never put out food for the squirrels, Bill says he suspects one of the local furry critters transplanted seeds from elsewhere to gobble up at a later time, but didn’t make it back in time.

“They’re very self-serving (and smart). We’ve also got some walnut trees out there (that we didn’t plant) … but it’s (really) my wife who makes everything awesome around here,” he adds.

“And it’s the soil,” said Bill of the flower’s height. “My wife buried coffee grounds in the dirt, there, and it acted like a fertilizer adding nutrients.

That, combined with ample watering and direct sunlight allowed the sunny flower to grow taller than the house it stands next to and develop a blossom wider than a foot.

“We haven’t decided what to do with it yet,” said Bill. “But we’ll probably leave it for the birds.”

And while Bill and Lilly have no plans on growing more giant sunflowers, they can’t say it won’t happen again. “We put stuff out for the birds and the squirrels just come along and help themselves.

“It’s like they’re rewarding us for being so nice like that,” Bill added with a chuckle.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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