I know it’s fall when the sunflowers come in.

In Dearborn, in front of Ford Motor Company World Headquarters, there is a spectacular sight every fall. An ocean of bright, beautiful sunflowers.

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I discovered them one day when driving around. I’ve come back to them every fall since. Sometimes they get planted early. These photos are from about a month ago when they were in their prime. They’re starting to yellow a bit now. I have a picture from last year at about this time where the heads hadn’t even opened up yet. So it varies. But they always come when the air is starting to get chilly in the mornings and the dark comes sooner in the evenings and I know soon I’ll be immersed in apples and scarfs and leaves and everything that is fall.

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I decided to research the field for a class project. There are several other fields around, but they’re all wildflowers and grasses. They also have ‘no trespassing’ signs posted. This sunflower field doesn’t. In fact, a sidewalk winds along the edge of the field, so anyone passing by can enjoy them. The field is at Michigan Avenue and Mercury Drive.

Going out there, you can hear hundreds of birds. Standing next to the flowers you can observe bees happily hovering from face to face of the giant blooms. It’s nice to commune with nature this way.

But why? Why have this sea of sunflowers?

After poking at Ford’s website, it seems that the answer is that they are pretty and provide food for local wildlife. Okay. Cool! Ford goes on to explain that the fields are part of an effort to improve biodiversity, provide a habitat for animals, and since it’s not a giant grass field they need to mow, they don’t use as much fuel. I try to be as ecofriendly as I reasonably can be, so I was pretty excited to uncover these as the reasons Ford has the field.

I’m still waiting for a call back from the company that maintains the sunflowers. I have a few more questions about how this came to be. There was an article online that attributed the idea to an employee that was like, “Hey, you know what would be awesome? NOT ANOTHER GRASS FIELD.” (not a direct quote) (good thing this is for my blog and not my news writing class) (but wouldn’t it be great if they had?) Maybe I’ll share an update with you guys here later.

Whatever their origin, I’m just happy they exist.

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Happy Friday, everyone.
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