LAURINBURG — When Carol Sessoms kneeled in her garden sometime in early spring to plant sunflower seeds, she didn’t expect a large flower to tower over her a few months later.
Sessoms, of Laurinburg, walked hand-in-hand with her husband, Gene Sessoms, through their back yard as she approached the 12-foot-tall sunflower that has yet to bloom. A few feet below the giant stalk, a bright yellow sunflower “the size of a kitchen plate” was in full bloom.
“I’ve never seen a sunflower this big,” Sessoms said, craning her neck to see the bud of her sunflower.
Sessoms said that she and her husband collect about 10 gallons of rainwater in several jugs and containers to water her sunflowers twice every week. She’s been planting a variety of different flowers — from tiger lilies to gerber daises — for nearly 45 years. Sessoms said that she and her husband garden in their yard together — she usually plants flowers while he tends to a small garden of squash, cucumber and tomato bushes.
“We have a teeny garden,” she said. “I just enjoy being outside. I like pretty flowers, I like to plant my seeds in the spring and I like to see them reproduce and bloom. It’s a hobby for me.”
Although Sessoms said she has “seen some sunflowers as big as dish saucers,” she’s never had a sunflower grow so tall before and doesn’t know how or why it grew so high. She didn’t even notice its unusual height until a neighbor pointed out how abnormally tall the flower had grown beside her fence and she instructed her husband to measure it.
“Gardening can release stress,” Sessoms said, then laughed, “but when all that rain comes down and all that grass grows — that causes stress.”