Ann Walker is no wall flower when it comes to growing her own. Despite having only a few square feet in which to work, Walker makes the most of what she's got, producing towering tomato plants, statuesque sunflowers and zippy zinnias in her tiny garden.

A resident of New Llano Senior Apartments, Walker's garden stretches even into her neighbor's small yard. Of course, it helps that he's her own son. But even as the garden reaches into the courtyard they share with other residents, no one is complaining.

"Everything seems to go straight up," Walker said, indicating the sunflowers, which stretch well beyond her son's roof, and the tomatoes, which are giving the sunflowers a run for their money. Even the aloe vera plant seems especially inclined to stand erect, reaching, as if some mysterious secret necessary to plants hangs in the air above #6 Harper Street.

Peppers, lillies, irises, rhododendrons, rosemary and wildflowers along with a sprawling butterfly bush, a Texas Star and a couple of banana trees, not to mention a variety of house plants she keeps outdoors during warm weather complete the landscape and provide a lush backdrop of greenery in Walker's tiny corner of the world.

She's been cultivating the area for about two years now, she said, though she's been in the complex, in a different unit, for four years.

Walker planted the sunflower seeds in early summer she said, after a church group left a packet at her son's house. She received a packet too, and planted both, one in her son's yard and the other in the courtyard they share with other neighbors. Squirrels ate those, but the ones in her son's yard took off and have developed heads, with more on the way. The largest head so far is about six inches in diamer, perhaps larger. But it could grow up to almost 12 inches.

"The stalk is as big around as a child's ankle or wrist," Walker said, describing the plants. "One is four feet past the roof and the flower's big as a dinner plate."

Sunflowers most commonly grow to a height of about 12 feet, though the record holder is 40 feet.

The fruit of the sunflower, what many call the seed, holds the kernel. A favorite of adults, kids and birds, Walker may have to fend off more than squirrels soon.

Perhaps at harvest time, Walker's roommates, nine cockatiels, won't mind helping out.

With seven large birds, who fly about her head as she enters their bedroom, and two hatchlings barely recognizable as birds, Walker will have plenty of volunteers to eat the kernels.

But some, of course, she plans to plant again next year.