Raleigh's sunflowers draw crowds, but city asks visitors to stop jumping fence
Posted July 10
Updated July 11
My family was among the hundreds of people this weekend who made the trek along the Neuse River Greenway Trail to see the city of Raleigh's sunflower fields.
The fields can be seen next to the greenway along Old Baucom Road, which is southeast of Raleigh. They've become a destination since Raleigh started planting the sunflowers several years ago. They are in bloom from late June to early July.
But they aren't just a photo opportunity. The fields serve as an application site for biosolids from the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility, one of the city's wastewater treatment plant. Biosolids, a stabilized sludge, are a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process and used as fertilizer on the sunflower fields.
The sunflowers are planted to keep the nitrogen-rich soil from washing into the streams and rivers in the watershed, according to a city press release. Very soon, the sunflowers will be harvested and the seeds will be used to produce biodiesel.
The flowers can be seen from Old Baucom Road. You also can also park at lots along the greenway to get a look. The Auburn-Knightdale lot, 901 Auburn-Knightdale Rd., is about two miles from the sunflowers. The Mial Plantation access point, 6008 Mial Plantation Rd., is about 1.5 miles from the sunflowers.
We parked at the Mial Plantation access point and took a nice walk along the paved trail to the flowers. You'll go over a couple of bridges and look out on some farm fields. Lots of families brought bikes.
One note: Many people were jumping the white fence to get a closer look at the sunflowers. There are no trespassing signs. On Monday, a post on the city's Facebook page asked visitors to mind those signs.
"Just a safety reminder while visiting the sunflower field, please stay OUTSIDE of the fence," the city's Facebook page said. "While we absolutely want everyone to stop by and enjoy them in bloom, please stay outside of the fence. Copperheads, bees, & other safety concerns are why we ask that people stay at a safe distance. Thank you for your cooperation! Your safety is our priority."