Who doesn’t love a sunflower? I certainly do – their bright yellow colour and happy beaming faces never fail to make me smile. I associate fields of them growing alongside purple lavender with happy holidays in Provence so imagine my delight to find them 10 minutes down the road on the edge of St Austell.
The Hoskin family farm at Higher Tregorrick and decided this year to grow sunflowers to harvest the seeds and later provide a forage crop for cattle. The trail is a by product and a clever idea to raise money for Children’s Hospice SW at Little Harbour just down the road from their farm.
The trail will take an hour or so to walk around and I enjoyed it immensely. Sunflowers are heliotropes, which means they follow the sun during the day as it moves across the sky. The field is alive with bees of all shapes and sizes, buzzing loudly and packing their little sacks with pollen and sprinkling it all over the leaves. They are mostly bumble bees and there were literally thousands of them on the flower heads. Did you know that there are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK? If you look carefully you will be able to spot the differences between them in colour, shape and size.
As you progress around the trail you will discover information boards packed with fascinating facts about these fabulous plants. For instance, did you know that:
- sunflower heads consist of hundreds of tiny flowers which only turn into seeds after pollination by bees?
- Sunflower wax is used in cosmetics, body butters and is 100% vegan?
- The flowers can be eaten in a salad, used to make herbal tea and yellow dye?
- Bees leave a smelly footprint to tell others which flowers have been visited already?
- Sunflowers are the National flower of Ukraine which together with Russia produces most of the world supply of sunflower oil?
There is only another week left to visit the trail and I can’t recommend it highly enough. There is a horse box and tent offering a shady spot to have refreshments and ice cream and you can buy a lovely bunch or two of sunflowers to brighten up your home.