A sunflower field is adding color and generating a lot of interest this fall in the southeastern corner of Heritage Park.
The eight-acre field of the state flower came about after the idea was suggested by a member of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.
“A county commissioner encouraged us to investigate planting to provide a location for a sunflower field in Johnson County so area residents didn’t have to drive elsewhere to enjoy them,” said Bill Maasen, superintendent of parks and golf courses. “We found a farmer who lived nearby who was willing to do it. He had not planted sunflowers before, but investigated it and did a great job.”
The sunflower variety is the kind used for sunflowers as a row crop, and has multiple flowers on each stalk averaging about six to eight inches across. The plants get about four feet tall.
The sunflower field in Heritage Park is located southeast of shelter #7 on Hallet Street within the park. From the intersection of Pflumm and 172nd St., go east, and 172nd street will curve north and turn into Hallet. Parking is available at shelter #7, or those going to see the sunflowers can park one car width off the road along Hallet. For the enjoyment of other park patrons, visitors are asked not to cut or harvest the flowers. Those who do so are subject to possible ticketing by the Johnson County Park Police.
Since this is the first time a field of sunflowers has been planted in a JCPRD park, district officials aren’t sure what to expect.
“It’s a public service, and we’ll see if the citizens appreciate this use of Heritage Park” Maasen said. “We’ll gauge public comments and decide if we want to do this again in the future.”