Four-year-old Abigail Larner's mother said the girl was excited she managed to grow a sunflower almost 10 feet high — and win in her age category in this year's first-ever township sunflower growing contest, sponsored by the Bernards Township Beautification Task Force.
The contest, which concluded in September, had nine winners, in three age groups and three prizes within those groups for tallest, widest flower and best journal, said Laura Begg, chair of the beautification task force. The contest didn't ask for journals in the oldest age group, so two in the youngest age group got prizes for journals, Begg said.
"It was a lot of fun for the kids — I am sure we'll do it again!" Begg said after the contest winners had been announced. The contest was four to 15.
All winners received gift bags donated by Back to Nature Garden Center in Basking Ridge.
Initially, 85 contestants signed up and received seeds, Begg said. However, she said the number trickled over the summer — for reasons such as seeds that didn't sprout or having animals eat the flowers.
"In the end. we had a pretty good group submit flowers, Begg said. The Bernards Township Parks and Recreation department took photos when flowers were measured, she said.
The selection of journal winners was decided by the Beautification Task force, but otherwise the contest winners won through measurements.
Winners in the ages 4-7 category:
Widest sunflower head, 16 inches, James Grimaldi of Basking Ridge
Tallest sunflower, 118.5 inches, Abigail Larner of Basking Ridge
Best journal, Isabella Reyes of Basking Ridge
Best journal, Allison Sherman of Basking Ridge
Winners in the ages 8‐11 category:
Tallest sunflower, 153 inches, Emily Lozowski of Basking Ridge
Widest sunflower head, 15.5 inches, Alex Vespucci of Basking Ridge
Best journal, Ryan Vespucci of Basking Ridge
Winners in the ages 12-15 category:
Tallest sunflower, 123 inches, Alicia DeMarchi of Basking Ridge
Widest sunflower head, 14 inches, Lindsay Begg of Basking Ridge
Photos courtesy of Laura Begg, from Bernards Township