Longwood Gardens owns a good deal of the land surrounding the public gardens to control commercialism and protect its environment. Some of the land is leased out to local farmers. Last year, one who normally planted corn asked to plant sunflowers instead, since he had a buyer for the seeds. Longwood agreed, not giving it much thought.
It turned out to be far more successful than anyone expected. Once the sunflowers bloomed, our local newspaper published an article on them, and as people saw it, they told others, who told others, and the rush was on. I went to see it on the same day the article came out, and returned the next day to bring my wife.
It was so spectacular because of the shear size of the display. One sunflower is stunning, fifty of them together is spectacular, but a huge field of them stretching over the horizon is a wonder.
The site was about a mile down a small road from the entrance. Longwood usually goes all out to make everything they do as perfect as possible, but they were clearly taken aback by the sunflower’s popularity. You had to pull into an unpaved, unmarked, grassy spot in the field, or park on the side of the road, both potentially dangerous. It will be interesting to see what Longwood does next year.
(Click on the image to enlarge.)