Earlier this year Guy decided to plant thousands of sunflower seeds on his Vendéen French farm, in the hope of making his own organic sunflower oil. A few months later and the farm became a spectacle with 2 hectares of glowing yellow fields. Whilst watching the wildlife thrive off the sunflowers, Guy decided he wanted to give them away in the boxes, to feed British birds!
Here you can see a selection of the fantastic photos we’ve had sent in. We’re thrilled with the response and although it seems some people have struggled with pesky squirrels and seagulls, we are delighted that so many animals (including hamsters and chickens!) have enjoyed Guy’s gift.
We also donated sunflowers to Paignton Zoo, Shaldon Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe. Zoo keepers say it’s a great enrichment activity for the animals as it challenges them with their food and they have to focus on picking out the seeds. Keep your eyes peeled for cheeky monkey photos.
click on the thumbnail to see a bigger image
Guy’s grown a huge crop of organic sunflowers on our farm in France; we’ve around 100,000 glorious heads and the crop has been thronging with bumblebees. No nasty chemicals here! There’s more wildlife benefits to come closer to home too…. Guy’s decided to give them away in most veg boxes, once the flowers have dried a little.
Here’s what he has to say about it:
Watching the Vendéen bird population feasting on my bowing sunflower heads and realising it was barely worth harvesting our measly two hectares for oil, I had the idea that you might like to use them as bird feeders. If you don’t have a garden or balcony please pass the sunflower on to someone else.
How to hang your sunflower:
1. Use a pencil or biro to make a hole about 3cm from the rim
2. Thread a piece of string through
3. Hang it up with the seeds facing the side, so birds can access them easily, and high enough so cats can’t catch feeding birds
4. It may take a few days for English birds (unaccustomed to sunflowers) to catch on, but they will
Some may have a few seeds missing, as birds are already feasting on them in the field.
Finches, house sparrows and willow tits are partial. If you manage to get any photos of feasting birds, we would love to see them. Please share at www.facebook.com/riverford and www.twitter.com/riverford.