Last fall, those of us at LynnValleyLife HQ had a great time reading the nominations for our first-annual Good Neighbour Award, which wrapped up at the end of December. In fact, we had such a good time, we realized we’d need another fun community initiative to keep us busy until the contest kicks off again in November!

So we put our heads together to plan a new neighbourhood undertaking – and we’re calling it Project Sunflower! We’re asking people to jump on board and plant one, two or a whole patch of sunflowers in their front gardens this spring. Wouldn’t it be great to drive (or walk, or bike) through the neighbourhood, and see hundreds of sunflowers brightening our yards and streets as summer progresses?

Over the next number of weeks, LynnValleyLife will be mailing out specially printed packages of sunflower seeds to single-family homeowners who belong to the LynnValleyLife Network (it’s never to late to join this free email list; sign up here and start receiving monthly news and local bargains!) If you’re a condo or apartment-dwelling member of our Network who also has garden space, please drop us a line so we can send you some, too!

As we write this in early March, the day is sunny and the possibilities seem endless. But even though we are announcing LynnValleyLife’s “Project Sunflower” now, we don’t want you rushing out and planting anything too soon. Dropping seed early in this rainy, unpredictable neck of the woods often ends in dashed hopes, as our experienced Lynn Valley gardeners will tell you.

However, we also know that gardeners don’t spend the off-season just twiddling their green thumbs. They’re busy all winter with seed catalogues and schematics, planning their veggie beds and floral displays for the year to come. So that’s why we’re announcing Project Sunflower now – we want you to leave some space for it!

Sunflowers should be direct-seeded in the garden in mid-April to mid-May, after all danger of frost is past. They aren’t too fussy about the soil (though it shouldn’t get water-logged), and they love to be in as much sunlight as you can offer them. For some good sowing and growing tips, check out the Farmer’s Almanac advice here.

Of course, we have lots of good local garden advice right here in our own neighbourhood. The North Shore Recycling Program offers free one-on-one sessions with Compost Coaches, who will visit your garden and give you hands-on composting tips, and this year’s GardenSmart lecture series teaches everything from setting up your first vegetable garden to growing fish in your own backyard!

So even if the weather isn’t quite plant-worthy yet, the time to start planning is now! Where will Project Sunflower take root in your garden this spring? It goes without saying that we’ll have a prize for Tallest Sunflower and Largest Sunflower Patch, so think big!