Sunflowers: Enjoy the maze, pick some sunshine at Davie farm

Published 9:23 am Sunday, September 24, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

The bees and butterflies were everywhere.

And why not?

They were surrounded by 10 acres of some of their favorite food, pollen produced by countless varieties of sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias – all in perfect bloom.

The scene is like something out of a fairy tale, magical, relaxing and soothing.

It’s The Fields at Sunflower Trail, open for business in the evenings and on weekends at 177 Howell Road, Mocksville. There are games, a sunflower maze with more than a mile of trails, with swings and seating along the way, and 20 signs giving fun facts about sunflowers and other native plants and animals.

And the flowers are available to purchase. You cut them, and owners Tabitha and Brock Holbrook and their helpers will wrap them for you to take home.

On Saturday and Sunday, a Sunflower Extravaganza will be held from 10 a.m.-dusk,  with live music and more than 30 vendors.

If you want to check it out without the crowds, it is open daily this week from 4 p.m.-dusk.

The land – which also fronts Eatons Church Road – is special to Tabitha. Her family raised tobacco there. But when tobacco was no longer an option, another use was investigated.

They started with a wedding venue, The Loft at Sunflower Trail. And when land across the road became available, the Holbrooks didn’t hesitate. They bought it and planted flowers.

Sunflowers, Tabitha said, is more like tobacco than most people realize. Growing them reminds her of her father’s tobacco fields.

“A tobacco plant can get as tall as a sunflower,” she said. “And it flowers. This reminds me of my dad.”

The difference: tobacco is grown for the leaves, sunflowers for the flower heads.

They started the flower farm in 2017 and have had mixed results. They’re still learning, and know there’s not a lot of money to be made. They’re happy to get enough to pay for seeds and the land payment.

“It’s been impressive to see how many pollinators we attract,” Tabitha said, adding that some neighbors with hummingbird feeders miss their birds when the flowers are in bloom. They have lots of bees and butterflies, including sightings of the Monarch butterfly.

Sunflowers, Brock said, help to aerate the soil, and provide food for wildlife and people. They plant black oil, confectionary and ProCut sunflowers, replanting every year.

The maze also changes yearly.

They have tried two crops a year, but plan to focus on one next year, with the harvest falling between their June and September/October harvests this year.

“It’s just something fun to do,” she said.

We agree.

So do the birds, butterflies and bees.