Sunflowers rise to grower’s delight

Amanda Jess webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on September 13, 2013

Walter Murray’s sunflowers tower over him at almost 11 feet. They’re the tallest Murray has ever grown since he started in 1985 and he’s quite pleased. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS

MERIGOMISH – The secret to growing tall sunflowers is to talk to them.
At least that’s what Walter Murray jokes he does.

Although he may not have been serious, he’s doing something right. He’s been gardening since 1985 and his sunflowers are the tallest they’ve ever been at almost 11 feet.

“I like to see things growing,” he says. 

Murray hasn’t reached the Guinness World Record of 27 feet, set by German Hans-Peter Schiffer, but he is breaking his own records. He’s not sure how tall his blossoms have been in the past, but knows it wasn’t quite as high.

Murray’s sunflowers have been reaching new heights since he retired from his 25-year career at Nova Scotia Power in New Glasgow 28 years ago.

Since then, he moved to Barney’s River Road and started his hobby vegetable business.

Murray is happy to let people guess his age, but didn’t want to give it away. He’s not a young man anymore, but he’s limber enough to spend his days pulling weeds and cutting grass.

“Keeping busy – I think that’s the best thing for you.” 

When he’s not watering his plants, he has Lucky to keep him company. His kitty companion loves people and is quick to rub against whoever sets foot on the doorstep.

Murray’s self-built home can’t be missed with signs for fresh vegetables and a yard sale at the end of the road.

His sunflowers aren’t for sale at his driveway veggie stand, nor does he enter them into any competitions. It’s all for fun. 

He enjoys it because the flowers are easy to grow and birds love them.

This year’s flowers were planted in June and are likely done growing for the season.

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