In our own garden we have really enjoyed growing these giants. They were grown from organic seeds, called Russian Mammoths.
Sown directly last May in our flower bed that was planned to give us cut flowers and to attract pollinating and predatory insects. They were very successful (admittedly with little care), reaching between 12 – 15 foot, towering over the vegetable patch.
We have decided to leave them in the ground over the winter as you can see here silhouetted against the dank January sky.
As they finished flowering in October the pollinated plants put their energies into producing seeds, and have continued to provide hundreds of tasty (and organic) mouth fulls for the garden birds. It has been lovely to watch as the tits nip in and out for a peck. The tall stems are still strong enough to support perching rooks as they greedily look down on the bird table below. The pithy stems have also offered winter shelter for hibernating insects, which we welcome in our organically grown vegetable garden.
So roll on brighter, warmer days when we can admire these lovely flowers gravitating towards the sun!