A couple has proved their love is still blooming after 40 years by recreating a photo they took when they first got together posing alongside a 12-foot-tall sunflower.
Paul Szewc and his wife Sandy, both 61, met in 1982 when Sandy asked Paul to dance in a bar.
The duo later posed beside a 12-foot sunflower Paul had grown in his mother’s garden back in September 1984.
Thirty-eight years later, the gardening enthusiasts were delighted when they grew another whopper and recreated the photo they took when they first got together.
Szewc, a furniture maker from Ontario, Canada, said: “One of our sunflowers just so happened to shoot up again.”
Paul believed flowers were the key to a woman’s heart when he wooed his now-wife with a gigantic sunflower when they first got together.
He invited Sandy to his mom’s garden to show her the plant he’d grown from seed – and one particularly impressive flower towered 12 feet above them.
Keen to impress, he got her to stand on his shoulders and his mom, Marjorie, snapped a picture of the pair in 1984.
The couple, who have two sons, Jason, 32, and Kyle, 31, continued to grow sunflowers over the years and were delighted when another giant one appeared in July 2021.
They decided to recreate the photo they took when they first met, with their son, Jason, snapping them in the exact position.
“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.”
Sandy, who co-owns their furniture business, said: “I was so impressed with Marjorie’s massive garden.
“Paul lifted me onto his shoulders as if to say ‘look what I can do.’
“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.”
The couple married two years later on September 20, 1986.
Health-conscious Paul enjoyed growing his own food and encouraged his wife to get into gardening.
“I thank the sunflowers and my healthy, home-grown food,” he said.
“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.
“I got her hooked on my home-grown fruit and veg.”
This year’s photo is slightly different as the pair are joined by their grandchildren – 3-month-old twins, Maddie and Quinn, who are Kyle’s children.
Paul believes his love of gardening is “in his genes” as his grandmother, Mary Allen, 107, worked as an assistant for a family in Nottingham, England, before moving to Canada in 1910.
The family owes their grandma’s long life to a healthy organic life.
Paul thanked his grandma and mom for giving him green thumbs.
“She taught me the importance of preserving food. I grow a garden so I can process a year’s supply of food in his cold cellar,” he said.
“These days with the cost of food growing your own in a garden is the way to go.
“When my dad, Joseph, died, I was 10 and my mom and I didn’t have much – except our garden.
“I picked up a pitchfork and thought: ‘Well, we’ve got to eat,’ and that’s where my love of gardening came from – a need to.”
Paul said lockdown got him and his wife 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.”
Paul’s Top 5 Tips for Gardening
- Water your compost and turn it over to ensure all of it remains damp.
- Plant what you like to eat and you will quickly be eating amazing fresh meals.
- Plant things that are easy to harvest, everyone loves garlic and tomatoes and these are so easy.
- Enjoy the whole process of gardening and make time in your day to do it- it is such a therapeutic process.
- Now we are experiencing drier weather, take the time to water your plants by hand, it takes longer but uses much less water.
Produced in association with SWNS.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.