Central Albertans can lose themselves in a new sunflower maze.
Klein Farms owner Emery Klein credits his girlfriend, Christina Graham, for planting the seed of the sunflower maze idea.
“She talked me into it last year,” said Klein, who also raises and sells free-range chickens and turkeys at the farm four km north of Delburne. He also grows, blackcurrants, saskatoon berries, chokecherries and rhubarb and is a regular presence at farmers’ markets in Red Deer, Lacombe and Innisfail.
“We did some touring, went out to the West Coast and looked at some of their projects out there. Then away we went.”
They put in a couple of acres and he was taken aback by the response from friends and neighbours.
Klein admits he did not understand the enthusiasm for flowers at first but he went with it.
“This year we took it to the next step. We got some food trucks in. We put some photo ops out and we just took it from there.”
They opened over the August long weekend and he hopes to have two more weekends in August before the sunflowers come out of flower.
“It’s the season. Sunflowers don’t flower forever. They’re just like canola. They have a seasonal flower that’s around three to four weeks depending on weather.”
This summer, the drought squeezed the already limited prime flowering season.
“In another two weeks we’re going to be done. The weather this year did not help us much. Being hot and dry, they just went through the flower season way, way too fast.”
Two mazes have been laid out in one three-acre section. Another four acres was also set aside and it is serving as a popular backdrop for people taking family or wedding photos and pictures for other special occasions. An old pickup truck and tractor add to the visual interest.
Some of the sunflowers tower more than two metres, while others are shorter depending on soil conditions and other factors.
“We’ve had an amazing amount of local support from friends, neighbours and people within 10 miles of us. As far as getting people out of the city and further away the word isn’t out enough yet.
“We’re going to work on getting more of that public awareness.”
The maze is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Adult tickets cost $10 and youth $7.50. A grandparent with a grandchild pays $5. A $50 camera charge applies for those who want to take formal photos in front of the sunflower backdrop.
For more information see kleinfarms.ca.