Widow's joy as sunflowers she planted in late husband's memory grow six feet

A widow has spoken of her joy after sunflower seeds she planted in her late husband’s vegetable patch ‘grew and grew’ – to stand nine feet tall.

Pat Gore, 76, took up gardening as a form of therapy last year after losing her beloved husband of 52 years, John, to lung disease.

Unable to maintain his vegetable patch on her own, Pat decided to plant sunflowers instead – in memory of her husband.

Pat, from Clay Cross near Chesterfield, Derby, watched on in amazement as the flowers got bigger and bigger, to the point where they now stand nine feet tall and measure 12 inches across.

She said: ‘The vegetable patch was John’s pride and joy so when I got these sunflower seeds I thought that was the perfect place to put them.

‘I’ve been watering them every night and taking good care of them – and they’ve grown and they’ve grown and they’ve grown.

‘I’m chuffed to bits with them – and I’m sure John would be too.’

Retired crane driver John died from pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred, in February 2019.

Pat, who worked as a delivery driver, said her husband passed away aged 78 just ten days after falling ill.

The couple had two children together and four grandchildren.

Pat said: ‘After John died I started doing more and more gardening and I found it very therapeutic, it really helped me.’

She planted the sunflower seeds in April in the vegetable patch which John lovingly maintained for years.

Pat added: ‘He absolutely loved his patch, he’d spend hours out there.

‘Before dinner, I’d shout out and ask for whatever I needed, whether it potatoes or onions, and an hour later it would be there on our plates.

‘His favourite were runner beans, they were his pride and joy.’

On the patch of land John once tended now stand 26 beautiful sunflowers, and Pat says more are growing by the week.

‘When we had gusts recently I was really worried about them but they coped,’ she said.

‘They’re very strong – and they’re multiplying! I’ve noticed lots of little sunflowers are now starting to grow from the taller ones. The bees love them.’

Pat said neighbours had remarked on the stunning sunflowers.

She added: ‘They’ve raised some smiles during what has been a difficult time.’

According to the Guinness World Records the world’s tallest sunflower measured 30ft and was grown by German Hans-Peter Schiffer in 2014.

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