Sunflower effort in full bloom

March 11, 2021 BY

Rays of hope: Murray McConachy grew tens of thousands of sunflowers in a field just north of Meredith as a fundraiser for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

WHAT do you do with a large field that’s too wet to plant other crops in?

That’s a question faced by Murray McConachy last spring, who turned the challenge into an opportunity to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital’s annual Good Friday appeal by seeding sunflowers.

As a result, last Saturday people came from near and far to the large and now dusty field just north of Meredith to cut the bright yellow blooms and make a donation to the cause.

“We’ve got about nine hectares planted here, which is plenty of flowers, I can’t give a number but it’s many thousands!” Mr McConachy said.

“My son was in the Royal Children’s Hospital back in about 2014 for a week or so, he was pretty crook, and they looked after him very well.”

Mr McConachy’s day job is as a cropping manager for the nearby Meredith Goat Farm, and he said that getting the sunflowers in and blooming has been a combined effort between himself, his kids, and other staff at the farm.

Elizabeth Davey and Nina Lisenko were a couple of the many people out in in the field collecting huge armfuls of blooms.

The pair had come up from Bell Park in Geelong, and along with supporting the cause, their motivation was simple.

“I love sunflowers,” Ms Davey said. “They’re just sunny and happy, they make you smile when you see them.”

With thousands of flowers in the field, Mr McConachy said it was unlikely they would all be cut and sold on the day.

If there were leftovers he was in talks with a major supermarket chain to sell the rest in their nearby stores as a way of raising more money.

If there were still flowers in the ground after that, which there very well could be due to the sheer volume, Mr McConachy has a solution for that too.

“Depending on what’s left we’ll bring a harvester in and harvest some,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll all be gone, but I think there’s just too many.”

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