Flower Power

At HBUF we’re not just about trees. Each year the flowers dotted around the forest and in our wildflower meadow bring a bit more colour and beauty into our strolls through the fields and trees.

This year we are doing something a bit special, and we’d like you to be a part of it.

We are hoping to plant a hundred sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine. As well as being gorgeous, the birds and bees will love them, and they should make a wonderful sight during the summer months.

We want you to help by growing your own seedlings and bringing them to become part of our sunflower garden when are ready to plant-out. We have some simple advice on how to grow them here.

We’ll be planting them on the last Saturday in May, the 28th, at 2pm, in the Miyawaki forest enclosure.

If you are part of a youth or community group, we can help you get started with some seeds and growing materials – all you need to find is some soil and something to plant them in (anything that holds dirt!). Get in touch via our contact page to find out more.

If you are concerned about the situation in Ukraine and want guidance on things you can do to make a real difference, take a look at the advice from Swindon City of Sanctuary, or checkout the council’s page on supporting refugees arriving from Ukraine.

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How to Grow Sunflowers

First, get your seeds!

You can get a packet of sunflower seeds from your local garden centre or some supermarkets or online.

There are lots of different varieties. HBUF has a mix of heritage varieties that we’ll be trying, a mix of different shapes and colours (who knew, not all sunflowers are yellow?!)

Sunflower Seeds

Pot them up

Fill a pot with peat-free compost to within 2cm of the top and water well. If you don’t have a flower pot then you can always use another container, so long as you don’t mind getting it dirty.

Place 1 or 2 seeds well apart in the pot but not too near the edge, press gently in and cover with 1cm compost. If you can stick a clear plastic bag over the top, it will be like a mini greenhouse.

If you’re doing this at home with your family, why not use a label or a lolly stick to record the name of the person who planted it?

Find a good spot

Place the pot in a warm light place, out of direct sunlight. This could be a windowsill or any other bright spot. Keep the compost slightly moist, don’t let it dry out!

You should see a shoot within a week or two. If you put a cover over your pot you can take it off now. Rotate the pot once a day to stop the seedlings bending over.

Bring them to HBUF to be a part of our sunflower garden!

A couple of weeks before you’re going to plant your sunflowers out, it’s best to harden them off (get them used to being outdoors). Start taking the pots outside during the day and bringing them back inside at night.

Lookout for the dates and times for our planting-out sessions. You’ll find them here on or on our Facebook page when the dates are finalised (subject to the weather).

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