Primary schools are to receive a share of 4,000 packs of sunflower seeds ahead of the launch of this year’s Carrickfergus in Bloom.
The free packs will also mark the borough’s participation in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom awards, now in their 50th year.
Carrickfergus and Whitehead will be representing Northern Ireland in the Large Town and Small Town categories, respectively.
Ulster in Bloom nominated the two areas for the national finals of the competition following the regional stage of judging in 2013.
Carrickfergus in Bloom is asking the borough’s young horticultural enthusiasts to join the thousands of young gardeners throughout the UK in a mass-planting of sunflower seeds to mark National Gardening Week (April 14-21).
A spokesperson from the local authority said: “Carrickfergus Borough Council is distributing the sunflower seeds to primary and secondary school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower competition.
“What better way to celebrate this huge anniversary for Britain in Bloom than a mass planting of beautiful golden sunflowers. These gorgeous and uplifting plants have been known to grow an astonishing four metres high, which reflects the sort of spirit and drive we associate with our local young people and other volunteers who transform our borough each year.
“We’re providing the seeds as a big ‘thank you’ to all the industrious and passionate young people who work to ensure that our borough stays clean, green and beautiful.
“It is also a chance to do something big for the environment – sunflowers provide vital food for pollinators this summer.”
The Carrickfergus in Bloom children’s community competitions have a total prize fund of £350. Other competitions include poetry and painting; entries for these competitions must be received by September 30.
“Everybody who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus is invited to take part in Carrickfergus in Bloom as there is something for everyone,” the spokesperson added.
“By entering you not only brighten up your own house but you also aid our borough’s entry to the Ulster and Britain in Bloom competition.
“The winners and runner-up of all Carrickfergus in Bloom competitions will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes.”
In 2013, 1,850 people took part in the Carrickfergus in Bloom community competitions.