The University of Toledo is showing its support of Toledo Botanical Garden this summer by planting sunflowers throughout campus as part of Operation Sunflower.
“The goal has been to plant a million sunflowers all over the community so that by mid to late July, you start to see sunflowers every where you go,” said Karen Ranney Wolkins, executive director at Toledo Botanical Garden.
This is a community-wide project in collaboration with The Andersons to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Toledo Botanical Garden.
“We want to engage everyone in the celebration and make it approachable,” Ranney Wolkins said. “Not everyone can grow a rose — I don’t think I can — but virtual anybody can grow a sunflower. It’s one of the easiest flowers to grow and so many people have shared that it’s a flower that makes them smile.”
The sunflowers have been planted around Main Campus, including by the Secor Road and Douglas Road entrance signs, in Brunner Garden on the south side of University Hall, and behind Carlson Library.
In addition to planting a million sunflowers, the garden is hosting a related photo contest that includes three categories: before and after, largest, and most unique growing location.
“Something magical happens when you are growing something and particularly when other people are involved, there’s a relationship that gets built that wouldn’t otherwise happen,” said Molly Thompson, director of the UT LaunchPad Incubation Program and executive committee member of the Toledo Botanical Garden. “That is something that I think is extremely important, particularly now in marking the 50th anniversary of the Toledo Botanical Garden, is to be able to build that relationship in a way that hasn’t existed previously.”
Operation Sunflower is one of many happenings for the garden’s 50th anniversary milestone. Another event, “The Garden After Dark,” will feature a projection installation by UT students Friday, June 26, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Read more here about this nighttime event.
For more information on Operation Sunflower or on Toledo Botanical Garden, visit toledogarden.org or call 419.536.5566.