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New sunflowers brightening up our sorry summer

Gladstone cropping farmer Lottie Rayner has swapped rainy sausage sizzles for sunflowers this summer to raise money for her son’s hockey team.

She said there were between 25,000 and 30,000 sunflowers planted in her roadside paddock on Gladstone Rd.

Rayner said she had the idea of the sunflower field, as opposed to the sausage sizzles in the rain, and mentioned it to a family friend who put in an order and donated the seeds.

“The idea was just to get the Kuranui First XI Boys hockey team enough money to go to tournament week which will be this coming winter.”

She said the tournament week cost about $850 per person for a team of 16 boys, and she hoped the fundraiser would take away some of the cost burdens on parents and the school.

Rayner said this would be her first time planting a field of sunflowers, and it had been a bit of a learning curve.

“We’re cropping farmers anyway, and Jacko our son is in the hockey team, his uncle [family friend] has donated the seed, and my husband and I have done all the tractor work to get it in there and fertilised it.”

“It’s been quite cool.”

She said she would try to save some of the seeds to plant the paddock again next year.

Despite not being open to the public yet, and not all flowers being in bloom, Rayner has already had massive interest and ideas for how to make next year’s field even better.

Located at 117 Gladstone Rd, Rayner has tried to make the experience as affordable as possible for those wanting to frolic and pick the flowers.

She said it would cost $2 to enter the field, and flowers would cost $2 each, $5 for three, $10 for six, and $20 for 12.

Rayner said she had the idea when thinking about the daffodil field up the road from her.

“It’s pretty, it’s eye-catching as you go down the road.”

The sunflower field will be open for picking and gazing from Friday 13 from 1pm.

“The sunflower field will be open every afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday from January 13 until at least Sunday 22,” Rayner said.

She said the flowers would also be sold at the farmers market on January 14 and 15, as well as at The Offering in Greytown.

“Bevan Moorland who [owns] The Offering is the First XI hockey coach. He donates a lot of his time coaching the boys, and he does an amazing job.”

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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