Turns out this record-setting heat isn't all bad!

By Meghan Overdeep
July 22, 2019
minokku/Getty Images

The heatwave that gripped much of the country over the weekend is causing sunflowers to bloom ahead of schedule, much to the delight of tourists who come from as far away as Canada to visit some of the South's most cherished photo ops.

Sylvia Ganier, the chief farm operator of the 20-acre sunflower field at Green Door Gourmet in Davidson County, Tennessee, confirmed to WTVF that their recent crop of sunflowers had in fact sprouted early.

"The heat really pushed their bloom time forward," she said.

But according to Ganier, an early bloom can be a mixed bag. Usually, the sunflowers last into September, but this year that might not be the case. And with their sunflowers out of sync, some farmers have found themselves in a bit of a holding pattern.

"A lot of plants will give you a range of time so they'll say 90 to 110 days for blooming, they all came on the earlier side of things this year for us," Ganier told WTVF, "Well Mother Nature is delaying the planting for us, she is making it hard to get in to work the soil or direct seed anything so we are kind of at her mercy until we can do our very last planting."

But Mark Carroll, a biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, assured CNN that just because a few fields have bloomed early doesn't mean the entire season is "completely out of whack."

Though sunflowers are warm-weather plants, their bloom times can vary. Some sunflower destinations are still predicting blooms through August.

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Dave Diggs, owner of the Sunflower Garden in Westminster, Maryland, which plants several times a season, told CNN that a premature bloom isn't really that big of a deal—though his farm was able to open early this year.

He told CNN that he and other sunflower farmers have Facebook and Instagram to thank for society's enduring interest in the cheery blooms.

"The sunflower is certainly a hot flower this year, and it has been for a while," Diggs mused, "perhaps more than any other flower I can recall."

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