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Miracle Grow: The sunflower nobody planted keeps growing

A Lakeside gardener swears he never planted a seed, yet the super sunflower is the biggest he has ever seen.

LAKESIDE, Calif. — When you live in a beautiful city like San Diego, it's not uncommon to receive an unexpected guest. In this Zevely Zone, I met a surprise in Lakeside that homeowner Jeff Carver never saw coming. 

"Hey Jeff, morning, this is Penny Lane," said Jeff Carver while introducing me to his granddaughter Penny Lane. We walked out into their garden where Jeff swore he never put a seed in the ground. 

There stood a giant sunflower. "It just keeps growing," said Jeff while scratching his head. "I don't know, that is the crazy part this is the one I did not plant it, it just showed up," said Jeff. "Ever since I called you it's been growing about a foot a day."

Credit: CBS 8

When Jeff sent me a picture of his sunflower a week ago, it only had a single bloom on top. Now it's covered with twenty flowers or more. "Exactly, and it just keeps blooming," said Jeff. I asked him how tall he thought the sunflower was? "My estimate is, it's a rough estimate, is 21 feet and 3/4 inches," said Jeff.

Credit: CBS 8

I decided for a summertime sunflower this big, we'd better call in the CBS 8 drone department. Joel Matis is our pilot in command. He has flown over more flowers, but never one this tall. "Number one all time, the Carlsbad Flower Fields in May," said Joel. But Joel has never shared air space with bees. "This will be my first sunflower," said Joel with a huge smile on his face.

It's worth repeating. "I did not plant this, it just showed up," said Jeff. But the backyard gardener did plant other sunflowers in his yard. Those flowers have no blooms and were very short. So, what happened? "I don't know. The less I do the better apparently," said Jeff.

Credit: CBS 8

According to our drone distance reading from the ground, Jeff's sunflower was 14.1 feet tall. A disappointed Jeff Carver and his giant beanstalk demanded a second reading. "This is the tape measure I usually use to measure my sunflowers but for this one I brought out the big guns," said Jeff while pulling out a huge tape measure. "You want to get a ladder?" asked Jeff.

Credit: CBS 8

According to Google, an average sunflower is eight feet tall. "You got to go higher," said Jeff. "You still got a foot or two to go." I climbed the ladder with the tape measure. "I got the ladder," said Jeff. Penny Lane added, "That is way up there."

RELATED: Carlsbad Flower Fields: Meet the man behind the colorful displays

It wasn't quite 21 feet as advertised. I measured the sunflower at 14' 3". But something tells this lovely lady in Lakeside is just starting to stretch her legs and by far the biggest sunflower in San Diego, that I have ever covered. "There you go. Then that makes it official," said Jeff.

RELATED: Coronado Flower Show celebrates 100th Anniversary

Jeff Carver is a decorated retired Naval officer. He's lived in Lakeside since 1988 and never seen anything like the giant sunflower growing in his garden.

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