A couple has proved their love is still blooming 40 years on by recreating a photo they took when they first got together posing alongside a 12ft sunflower.
Paul Szewc and his wife Sandy met in 1982 when Sandy asked Paul to dance in a bar. He believed flowers were the key to a woman’s heart and felt his gigantic sunflower could be the key to wooing his new acquaintance.
He invited Sandy to his mom’s backyard to show her the plants he’d grown from seed, and one particularly impressive flower which towered 12ft above the young lovers.
Keen to impress, he got Sandy to stand on his shoulders and his mom, Marjorie, snapped a picture of the pair in 1984. The couple married two years later on 20 September 1986.
“I really wanted to woo her, and it clearly worked,” Paul said. “We both love gardening and sunflowers in particular—they bring back such happy memories.”
The couple who have two sons, Jason and Kyle, continued to grow sunflowers over the years and were delighted when another giant one appeared in July 2021.
In total it was 38 years since the gardening enthusiasts took the photo of the first whopper, and they decided to recreate the photo they took when they first got together.
“One of our sunflowers just so happened to shoot up again,” said Paul, a furniture maker, from Guelph, Canada. They decided to recreate the photo they took when they first met, with their son Jason, snapping them in the exact position four decades later.
“Paul lifted me onto his shoulders as if to say ‘look what I can do,’” Sandy recounted. “He charmed me as he didn’t have a car at the time but cycled to my work at a telecommunications company to deliver me a home-grown packed lunch.”
Health-conscious Paul, who learned from his grandma and mom, enjoyed growing his own food and encouraged Sandy to get into gardening.
“Sandy was a junk food addict before meeting me, but I sent her off to work with nutritious packed lunches and the rest is history,” said Paul. ”I got her hooked on my home-grown fruit and veg.”
Paul said lockdown got him and Sandy back out in the garden—after their busy lives took over.
“As soon as lockdown hit, and we had nothing to do I was reminded of the joys of gardening,” he said. “I’m so glad I re-found my love for gardening, and I hope my grandchildren will develop our green fingers too.”