An autumn chill might be inching towards Canberra but the bright colours of a sunflower maze are here to ward away the winter blues for a little bit longer.
The Majura Valley Sunflower Maze opens for the season this Sunday (12 March) and Anne McGrath, who owns it with her family, said they had already had a strong response from the public.
“There’s a lot of interest out there,” she said.
“I think people just want to go out to see what Canberra agricultural land has to offer, and just be immersed in nature.”
The sunflower maze covers roughly half a hectare and is located in the farm’s front paddock. It is made up of hundreds of huge yellow flowers and wandering among them gives you the opportunity to slow down and relax – as well as take that perfect Instagram shot.
It was introduced as part of a move by the family-run enterprise, which also produces Majura Valley Free Range Eggs, to diversify.
Visitors can also pick sunflowers from within a designated area away from the maze, to make sure it stays beautiful for as long as possible, and have the opportunity to purchase local produce from the farm shop.
Ms McGrath said anticipation had been building but visitors would find this year’s crop was worth the wait.
“It’s been a bit of a lead-up,” she said. “The flowers have come out a bit later than normal, so we didn’t really want to open up until there was a nice arrangement.”
Ms McGrath said the reason behind the humble sunflower’s appeal was simple: it makes everyone feel good.
“I think it’s just a happy flower,” she said.
While the team at Majura Valley Farm look to make sure all visitors have an enjoyable time, Ms McGrath said another motivation was raising awareness of Canberra’s farming and agriculture industry.
“[We wanted] to promote agriculture in Canberra and just show that we still have these open spaces that need to be protected from industrial development,” she said.
“Not that we’re going to have houses built here because it’s under the flight-path, but just to make sure the environment and this part of nature is preserved.”
It’s hard to say when the sunflower patch will close – that is largely weather dependent.
“If we get an early frost or something like that, it won’t be that spectacular for people to look at,” Ms McGrath said.
But it is expected to be open for several weeks, meaning there is no rush for people to plan their visit early in the 2023 season.
Ms McGrath said that while visitors to Majura House are welcome, they should be careful when arriving or departing by car, as the speed limit for the road outside the farm’s entrance is 90 km.
“We want people to respect that this is actually a working farm, and not to be wandering all over the property,” she said.
Additionally no dogs are allowed to help maintain the farm’s biosecurity, Ms McGrath said.
Majura Valley Farm Gate is located at 728 Majura Road and is open from 8 am to 7 pm, seven days a week.