Barbara “Babe” Bartomeli of Shelton stands next to a cosmos plant in her Huntington garden that has topped 9 feet in height. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

She’s been growing the annual plant for years, but one has never grown this tall. “This year it just took off,” Bartomeli said. “It’s very unusual. People can’t believe it.”

She planted the seeds in May after buying them at Wells Hollow Farm, where she works on a seasonal basis.

Her parents were gardeners as well. Bartomeli is a mother of five, grandmother of 12, and great-grandma of eight.