July 31 — WOODSTOCK — Merging a passion for gardening with a degree in architecture and landscape design, Master Gardener Benjamin Pauly of the Woodstock Inn & Resort has crafted a 20,000 square foot sunflower house on the grounds of the nearby Billings Farm & Museum. The Instagram-worthy must-see opens July 31, peaking in mid-August with blooms through early September.
Entering its third year in bloom, the 2021 floral footprint is double the square footage of last year’s sunflower house, making it the largest sunflower house in the U.S. There are also twice as many varieties of sunflowers, 100 in all.
Thousands of sunflowers were planted in a maze-like structure to form various rooms and hallways for exploring, and nearly endless photo opportunities for #SunflowerSelfies. Visitors can walk, weave and wander through the bright, bold flowers ranging in height from 18 inches to a towering 14 feet.
On Sunday, Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. the Billings Farm & Museum will host a free guided meditation walk leading guests through the sunflower house. After meditating and yoga stretching, light refreshments will be available for attendees.
For more meditation experiences at Billings Farm & Museum, Mindful Mondays began July 12, continuing through Monday, Aug. 30. A meditation expert leads 20-minute mindfulness programs. When purchasing entry at the ticket desk, guests will receive a mission-focused mantra and instruction card to use while exploring the grounds and sunflower house.
As a certified Bee Friendly Farm, the Billings Farm & Museum is hosting a pollination celebration on Aug. 28 – 29. Leading up to the festivities, the Woodstock Inn & Resort will serve a pollinator-themed cocktail at the Red Rooster and Richardson’s Tavern.
The farm’s Pollinator Garden is dedicated to growing produce that assists Vermont’s star pollinators. Other onsite gardens include the Pizza Garden, as well as the Victory Garden that mirrors the historic gardens of World War II, and the Heirloom Garden.
In addition to exploring the sunflower house during the Pollination Celebration weekend, guests can learn backyard garden tips to support pollinators.
“From building a bee bath with clean water to creating small stick houses for laying eggs, there’s a lot to learn about attracting pollinators,” said Pauly, Master Gardener of the Woodstock Inn & Resort, and the architect behind the sunflower house. “Although it’s popular for its picturesque structure, the sunflower house serves the greater purpose of providing native flowers for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.”
The Billings Farm & Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates, hours, and events can be found by visiting billingsfarm.org.