GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — We all have been there: you put all of yourself into a project only to see it wiped out in what feels like seconds.
That happened to Kevin Gray, the owner of Hickory Creek Farm in Guilford County. Instead of giving up, he was even more determined to make this year’s sunflower patch happen.
“There is a fair amount of investment, and it’s hard to see your crop destroyed in a short period of time,” Gray said. “But it’s worth it to see the smiles on the faces of families when they come out to have a good time.”
Last year, it took deer two nights to wipe out Gray’s sunflower patch. Instead of giving up, he gave it another shot and fortified this year’s sunflower field.
“We’ve tried everything you can think of: fences…electric fences, different scents, bar soaps, human hair around the patch and noisemakers,” Gray said.
He also planted another one-acre sunflower field just for deer. It’s clear the deer enjoyed their meal because only tiny sunflower stalks remain.
“This is what’s left of a sunflower stalk. They just ate it off right at the ground level. They will pull this out of the ground,” Gray said.
With the deer eating the sunflowers in one field, the other field was left to bloom, hitting its peak this weekend. Along the way, people have enjoyed stopping by to see the sunflowers and even taking some home.
“I think it’s just getting away from all of the problems in life and being able to enjoy nature, enjoy the beauty,” Gray said.
It’s an easy drive to get to the sunflower patch that’s located on the backside of Hickory Creek Farm. Gray planted the sunflowers here not as an afterthought but as a way to get people to think about Christmas.
“It’s always Christmas here on the farm,” Gray said. “We are getting ready for November.”
Hickory Creek Farm is also a Christmas tree farm. To get to the fall sunflowers, you have to walk through the symbols of holiday cheer.
“We had a family last Sunday walk through the tree field, and they saw a tree they wanted to come back for,” Gray said.
But even in the Christmas tree field, if you look hard enough, you can find signs that deer have been here. Gray points to missing branches on a young Christmas tree.
“Right in here, you can see where he rubbed his antlers and just destroyed all of the foliage,” Gray said.
When the tree fills out, it will cover most of the bare spots. Gray did highlight one tree that didn’t fill out correctly. But in a strange way, the Christmas tree with a bare spot across the middle was still appealing and will sell this winter.
“She said she loved it. It’s perfect, and she called it the ‘bikini tree’ because it’s naked in the middle,” Gray said.
The sunflowers should be at their peak this weekend.
Hickory Creek Farm is at 1489 Burnetts Chapel Road in Greensboro. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and up and includes 3 cut flowers. You can also bring your own bucket and clippers and cut your own.
And who knows, you might even find your own “bikini tree” as you walk to the fall sunflower patch.