Initiative Aims to Make Raleigh the ‘City of Sunflowers’

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Sunflowers at the North Carolina Museum of Art in front of Mark di Suvero’s “No Fuss.” Courtesy photo.

A partnership between North Carolina Museum of Art and Dorothea Dix Park is attempting to make Raleigh the “City of Sunflowers.”

On NCMA’s side, there’s its 2.5-acre field, which was first planted in 2018 and blends sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias—plus, walk-through paths. This year, the Museum Park has a second sunflower planting near the Ellipse. The 5-acre field at at Dix Park is an ongoing project between different city departments: Raleigh Water, the Office of Sustainability, and Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources. (After the bloom is over, Raleigh Water harvests the sunflower seeds for biofuel,” the city says.)

The initiative encourages visitors to use the #CityofSunflowers hashtag. Dix Park and the Museum Park are connected by the Rocky Branch and Reedy Creek greenway trails. “Both locations are home to Citrix Cycle bike rental stations,” a release adds. “The benefits of sunflowers are not limited to becoming biofuel; they also help support wildlife. The fields—which should start to bloom in July—serve as massive pollinator habitats for bees and other pollinators. In the Museum Park, after the sunflowers stop producing blooms, a variety of birds such as goldfinches, wrens, warblers, and indigo buntings feed on the sunflower seed.”

The Museum also offers a two-part outdoor workshop to teach nature photography in the sunflower field on July 20 and July 27.

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