Ever since I started writing this blog about the Midwest, I’ve wanted to do a post about sunflowers. Kansans claims these cheerful yellow blooms as the state symbol, but we don’t own a monopoly. When I was a kid in Wisconsin, sunflowers taller than my dad grew at the edge of our garden every summer. This month the fields and roadside ditches have come alive with the hearty plants, and once again I remember how much I love them.
This week I talked my mom into hunting sunflowers with me. We found a field of wild blooms in Gardner, KS, on Old Hwy 56, next to the Coleman warehouse. When we drove down Mercury Street and parked at the end, the sunflowers stretched around us in three directions.
We could have hunted sunflowers at Grinter Farms, on Hwy. 24 between Lawrence and Tonganoxie, where they raise sunflowers as a crop. Those sunflowers are tall, single-bloom stalks with large heads. They make for spectacular photos, but it was a longer drive than we wanted that day. Over the years the Grinters have made provisions for gawkers. They provide a stretch of land for parking, and allow visitors to take home blooms at a suggested donation of $1 per head. Read all their rules on the Grinter Farms Facebook page.
For some gorgeous pictures of Grinter’s crop, check out this blog post from Window on the Prairie. Wow!
Where do you go to find sunflowers?