The Sunflower Garden a place to pick and pose
It was about 20 years ago, as David Diggs remembers, that he and a friend bet each other who could grow the biggest sunflower.
The bet became a three acre garden.
Today, Diggs’ Sunflower Garden in Westminster, Md., is a tourist attraction with sunflowers and other ‘cutable’ flowers and another acre of vegetables. People drive in from throughout the general area, but word has gotten around by Facebook and Instagram that this is the place to come to pick your own personal bouquet of luscious yellow sunflowers (and a few red, light yellow lemon), zinnias, globe amethyst, butterfly bush, cosmos, snapdragons and cleome. He planted a full pound of hybrid red “almost black” sunflowers this year, he said, but they are gone almost as they blossom.
He’s seen license plates from Virginia and North Carolina and a lot from Pennsylvania.
“It’s become the selfie capital,” he says. “They’ve come to the right place.” Young couples are always here looking for the perfect picture, and they usually leave with at least a large $10 pot of flowers. Traditional vases are available, but the painted Ball jars might fit your bouquet better. Scattered throughout–and sometimes swallowed up by– the flowers are antique tractors, a truck, old farm equipment, a bath tub (it makes for fun photos), a window frame with an appropriate saying painted on it, a pair of cowboy boots.
The mellow, comfortable atmosphere makes the wandering of rows and rows of flowers a fun family event. The kids can pick their own bouquet.
The Sunflower Garden is at 2390 Manchester Road, Westminster. GPS address will guide visitors to the exact location. It’s about 45 minutes from York, and just 13 miles south of Hanover.
Diggs expects this year’s ‘peak’ to be around the last week of August and maybe into September, a little later than usual, although he backtracks a bit when calls it a peak. It’s the sunflower peak, but now is the best time for the other flowers which will be on the decline when the sunflowers finally explode. What he jokingly calls the ‘prettiest crappy driveway around’, admittedly a half mile of broken asphalt, is lined thickly with sunflowers. The curved path will soon lead to the gardens in a blaze of yellow.
He planted 200 pounds of sunflower seeds this spring, a bit later than usual because of spring rains. He extracts the seeds when the season is over by beating on the flower heads with a bat, getting tendonitis for his work. Diggs does nearly all the planting himself, but his wife drives tractor while he hangs over it’s back to plant. He has finally enlisted the help of two part timers for sales and counter help this year. Garden maintenance, coupled with his regular full-time job, didn’t leave any hours in the day for other things, like sleeping and eating.