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Kaster's sunflower

This sunflower was raised by Leonard Kaster Sr.

INDEPENDENCE – It took two packs of seeds and some determination, but Leonard Kaster Sr. finally got an incredible sunflower this summer.

Kaster, a recent transplant from Waterloo, had a vegetable garden before moving to Independence to be nearer his wife Vivian at Lexington Estate.

“I used to furnish the neighbors with tomatoes,” he said.

Kaster decided to buy some sunflower seeds this spring through Our Iowa magazine. He planted 13 in May and none of them took, so he contacted the magazine and they sent another packet. This time four took root, and one rose to 14 feet tall.

Worrying about the summer storms, Kaster had his son, Leonard Jr., secure it.

“He had me get on a ladder to tie it off to a pole when it was around 10 feet,” said Leonard Jr.

The flower is in the backyard of Kaster’s home on 8th Street SW, if it survived this week’s storms.