The field that became a phenomenon
● By J. Chambless
Throughout late summer and early fall, the Liondale Farm's 20 acres of sunflowers became a must-see for hundreds of visitors who flocked to the site.
By Richard L. Gaw
When a 20-acre portion of the 300-acre
Liondale Farm in Unionville was dedicated to be a field of sunflowers
earlier this year, owner Jim Sinclair and his wife Ann had no idea
that their meadow of yellow would become a stunning pilgrimage for
thousands of visitors.
Throughout August and September, at any time, Sinclair said that there were seven to 15 cars parked along the farm's Route 926 main entrance. Still other cars entered down the road. For whatever their reasons, visitors from nearly every state in the Mid-Atlantic region stopped by to admire the gentle sway of sunflowers that seemed to go on forever. Many people took photographs or let their children run in the pasture; while others simply stopped to admire the view, but whatever the purpose, the word quickly spread.
The sunflowers, planted by local farmer Jamie Hicks in late July, will be harvested later this year by Sinclair and Hicks, and converted into birdseed. “I heard there's 10,000 hits on Facebook about this,” Sinclair said in September. “When we did this four years ago, we'd come home and see a few people near our driveway, but this year, there has been four times the amount of visitors. It's just turned into this phenomenon. People love flowers, and sunflowers bring a cheerfulness and a smile to people's faces. People have left notes in our mailbox, thanking us.”
Sinclair said that crops are rotated every year, and for the next two growing seasons, corn will be planted and harvested, followed by soybeans and winter wheat. Sunflowers are not expected to be planted again until four years from now, he said.
For Sinclair, who has lived at the farm for the last 14 years and is the eighth generation in his family to have done so, opening up a portion of his farm to admirers has connected thousands of visitors to the beauty of nature.
“This field makes us realize the fact that we can own a property here, and allow people the freedom to come here from so many different parts of the country, simply to enjoy this,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.