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Valencia resident grows massive sunflower

Posted: August 15, 2013 5:12 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2013 5:12 p.m.

Valencia Lakeshore Condominiums resident Sandi Cates walks under the 11-foot-tall sunflower Thusday growing in her yard. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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SANTA CLARITA - Jack has his beanstalk, but Valencia resident Sandi Cates has a sunflower that may just about match it.

“It’s really the talk of the neighborhood,” she said Thursday, standing in the shadow cast by the giant flower.

When the plant first pushed its green head through the soil of Cates’ yard in the Valencia Lakeshore Condominiums complex, it was unremarkable.

But by mid-July it was growing at a startling rate. And growing. And growing.

For about a month, the plant shot up at a rate of about two inches per day. Its stalk swelled to be three inches thick.

Its leaves grew to the size of placemats. Its crowning flower — just beginning to bloom — is already the size of a dinner plate.

The sunflower, currently about 11 feet tall, is partly held up by supports Cates installed to help hold up its weight.

“We think it may have reached its peak,” said Cates. who stands 5 feet tall, as she stared up at the plant that dwarfed her.

The flower doesn’t hold the world record — that belongs to a German man who grew a sunflower 27 feet tall — but it’s caused quite a stir in the Valencia neighborhood Cates calls home.

“There were two old ladies walking down the sidewalk, and when they noticed it they jumped back and said, ‘Oh!’” Cates said. “It was like they were scared of it.”

The unplanned plant was likely the result of seed spilling out of a nearby birdfeeder.

“I didn’t plant it,” she said. “The birds planted it.”

As for what she’ll do when the mighty flower comes tumbling down, Cates said she’ll likely take the seeds and replant them in her yard.

“Then we’ll see how big those ones get,” she said.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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