Who will be our champion?

SEEDS are now available for youngsters who want to be part of the race to be crowned Sunflower Champion 2011.

The giant Russian seeds, which can produce blooms of 12ft and more tall, can be picked up from the Gazette’s office, thanks to competition sponsors Alnwick in Bloom.

You can plant yours in pots now and transfer outside in May or wait until Easter weekend and plant them straight into the ground.

Once they are in they will need feeding and watering. Canes and string may be needed to keep them upright.

And when your bloom has reach its biggest, and its sunny face has blossomed, contact the Gazette to let us know.

You can take a picture of it – with its young grower standing beside it – and send it in to the Gazette.

When the competition closes, on August 31, Gazette gardening correspondent and chairman of Alnwick in Bloom Tom Pattinson will judge the entries and find our winner. There will be prizes for the three tallest sunflowers.

WHSmith vouchers are up for grabs with first price getting £25, second £20 and third £15.

The winners will receive their rewards at a presentation at Alnwick Garden in September.

When your bloom is ready contact Helen Millichamp on 01665 602234 or email helen.millichamp@northeast-press.co.uk

You can also send your pictures to Sunflower Challenge, Northumberland Gazette, 32 Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1PN.