Fields of Sunflower Magic
As a Natural Light Photographer I am always looking for new and unique outdoor locations to photograph my clients. So last summer when a post displaying the most exotic and colourful sunflowers I had ever seen popped up on my FB newsfeed I had to find out more. Literally, minutes later I was in my car driving to this local farm to view the flowers up close and meet the person behind this magic.
Key’s Sunfields came into view and the wagon cart full of flowers for sale greeted me as I pulled in down the gravel driveway to the old farmhouse and rustic barns. Flashes of yellow and red touching the sky caught my eye as I tried hard to focus on the road and park my car. The sunflower fields were vast and wrapped around the picturesque country setting with lush cornfields that I later found out helped protect the growing flowers as they grew, before their stalks were strong enough to hold steady when the storms of summer blew in.
I met Kristie and instantly could tell these sunflowers held a special place in her heart. As she toured me around Key’s sun-fields (named after her dog- Key), I felt myself being transported to another world. There were stalks so tall and thick towering into the sky like a beanstalk and every shade of yellow to orange to red colour. Forgive my naivety but up until that moment I had assumed sunflowers were yellow. Kristie soon began to educate me on the 70+ varieties she grew and shared with me some of their unique names- “Moulin Rouge” are the blackish red ones, the little fluffy orange-yellow ones (my fave) are“Teddies”, and these mini yellow ones, “Lemon Drops,”flowers had powers and their magic was real.
The fields were alive with the flowers and the little bees buzzing around us. It’s a delicate balance working with nature and managing the challenges of weather. Kristie has experienced first-hand what can happen if the natural balance is disrupted. For a few days last summer she was forced to stay in her home because the Guard Bees had been disturbed, due to an inexperienced hive keeper. She can still recall the sound of the bees constantly tapping on her windows, much like a scene from a horror movie. During that time she had to prepare flowers for a client’s wedding and put on a protective suit to pick the flowers all the while the bees were tapping her. Today the balance has resumed and Kristie vowed to never let another “bee expert” set up hives.
“I have always loved sunflowers, their big personalities, and how happy they make people.” Kristie
I believe that Kristie and I meeting via the random powers of Facebook was fate. With her passion and love for growing these sunfields, selling their beauty locally, and opening up this unique whimsical world to me and my clients, I feel grateful and awe struck each time I visit.
What is especially interesting is how when the flowering season is over Kristie uses each part of the sunflower. The stalks she dries out and makes picture frames, signs, trellaces, archways, and stars to sell locally. The seeds she collects and sells by the bag for birds and wildlife. While, the sunflower season is only a couple of months the planning and prep work is much more.
Kristie shared a special story with me that really spoke to the power her flowers possess. Last summer she had a repeat customer whose Grandmother had gone into a senior’s home. Each time he went to visit he would bring a gorgeous sunflower bouquet. The flowers were so popular at the home that everyone who saw them had to pay compliments and this helped his Grandmother make friends and adjust better in her new home. So moved by hearing this and pleased that her flowers are bringing others as much joy, Kristie has vowed to hand deliver her last bouquet of the season to this lady.
Kristie lives and grows her flowers in a truly magic place. The farm, built in 1849, is a local historical landmark and former cattle and potato farm. She is forever finding horse shoes, dog tags, and tools, scattered across the property. With her special companion, Eggroll the Goose, and her supportive husband, her flowers flourish.
In a world that as of late seems rather dark it is nice to celebrate and support local farmer’s like Kristie, who help us to reconnect with the little things and remind us of the importance in “stopping to smell the roses”, and maybe pick up a few sunflowers to help spread the joy a little further.
Family Sessions are available through Christina Warrysh Photography. MINIS Saturday August 6th and Tuesday August 16th. Regular Sessions available.
Kristie’s flowers are always for sale at the end of her driveway (5939 First Line Road). She welcomes visitors to view the fields but please, contact her before (Key's Sunfields).