Sunflowers in Ottery support Ukraine and raise money for Hospiscare

1st Ottery St Mary Scouts Orla and Ava planting their sunflower seeds

1st Ottery St Mary Scouts Orla and Ava planting their sunflower seeds - Credit: 1st Ottery St Mary Scouts

Ottery St Mary Scouts are creating floral displays in yellow and blue to create a show of support for the people of Ukraine. 

L-R Orla Nunn, Nathaniel Beadman, Ava Hansell, Rowan Nunn and section leader James Meilton

L-R Orla Nunn, Nathaniel Beadman, Ava Hansell, Rowan Nunn and section leader James Meilton - Credit: 1st Ottery St Mary Scouts

Sunflowers will be mixed with blue geraniums in planters around the war memorial to create the colours of the Ukrainian flag. 

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower and has now come to symbolise the country’s desire for peace. 

The sunflower seeds donated by Otter Garden Centres

The sunflower seeds donated by Otter Garden Centres - Credit: 1st Ottery St Mary Scouts

The Otter Garden Centre donated sunflower seeds and recycled pots to the 1st Ottery St Mary Scout Group. There are two varieties of sunflower, both shorter than the usual type and suitable for container growing. Once the plants are big enough they will be transplanted into the wooden planters, together with the geraniums. 

Scouts Nathaniel and Rowan sorting sunflower seeds

Scouts Nathaniel and Rowan sorting sunflower seeds - Credit: 1st Ottery St Mary Scouts

The container planting is part of an initiative by Ottery Town Council, which successfully secured Government funding as part of the ‘Greening your Town’ project. The council is hoping other community groups will get involved and plant a mixture of greenery, from bedding and shrubs to trees and edible plants.  

Any local organisation that is interested should contact Ottery Town Council. The initiative is supported by the core council team - John Green, Richard Grainger, Dean Stewart, Vicki Johns, Sarah Martin and Stewart Lucas. 

Jeff and Chris Abbott with the sunflower growing kits

Jeff and Chris Abbott with the sunflower growing kits - Credit: Chris Abbott

The Scouts are not the only people planting flowers in Ottery - a a sunflower growing competition launched by Abbotts DIY has raised £350 for Hospiscare. 

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Abbotts’ shops in Ottery St Mary and Seaton have been giving out growing kits in exchange for a minimum donation of £1.50 to the charity. 

The kits, containing seeds, compost and growing instructions, have been put together by local Hospiscare volunteer fundraisers Bob and Pam Joy. Growers will cultivate their plants throughout the summer, and Abbotts will award a prize for the tallest sunflower at the end of August.   

Ottery St Mary branch manager and company director Chris Abbott said the competition was proving very popular, especially among children: “The kids are really into it, and it’s introducing them to gardening, which is great. 

“We hope everyone enjoys seeing their sunflowers grow.” 

He praised the ‘massive generosity’ of the two shops’ customers, many of whom gave much more than the minimum donation to show their support of Hospiscare.