OUT AND ABOUT: 5 things to know about the sunflower maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield

OUT AND ABOUT: 5 things to know about the sunflower maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield

reporter photo

MIDDLEFIELD – With over 350,000 sunflowers expected to bloom at Lyman Orchards this season, here are 5 things to know about the 12th annual sunflower maze with John Lyman, executive vice president of Lyman Orchards.

The maze

The three-acre maze is open to the public until Sunday, Aug. 26.

This year’s maze is in collaboration with the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and is designed in the shape of a tiger head in celebration of two tiger cubs who were born at the zoo late last year.

From an aerial view, the tiger design can be seen in the middle of the maze with “Beardsley Ct’s Zoo” at the top and “Lyman Orchards” spelled out by the entrance and exit.

The cause

Lyman Orchards donates $1 of each admission fee to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Cancer Unit. More than $100,000 has been raised since the maze opened 2007.

The sunflowers

Over 350,000 yellow and red sunflowers are expected to be in full bloom in the next few weeks. The sunflowers are ornamental, or sterile, meaning they do not produce any pollen.

Lyman said the sunflowers can grow to between five and six feet tall. 

Yellow finches and butterflies often venture into the maze and give visitors an up-close experience with nature.

Interactive elements

Animal facts are displayed on plaques within the nearly two-mile long maze. Visitors can also pick from a selection of trivia themes like super heroes or gummy bears before starting the maze.

When they start their adventure, they can answer trivia questions to figure out what direction to go in. A wrong answer will lead them in the wrong direction, while the right answer will keep them on the correct path toward the exit.

Lyman said selfie opportunities occur at numbered stops within the maze and are included for a more interactive experience.

Visitors can also take a small map with them to better navigate the twists and turns with bigger challenges toward the center of the maze.

The process

Creating the maze starts with planting the flowers at the end of May. The rows of corn for the corn maze in the fall are planted at the same time, but the sunflowers grow quicker, according to Lyman. 

Lyman said a company out of Utah called The Maize designs the maze based on the overall theme. They mark the design in the field when the flowers are a foot tall. The design is cut in about two hours. 

This year the design was cut in early July.

From June to July the sunflowers start to bloom and reach their full height by mid-August. 

Lyman said timing is important to make sure the plants flower in time for the annual maze.

More information can be found at https://www.lymanorchards.com/events/sunflower-maze/ 

Twitter: @KusReporter

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