MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sunflowers are popping up all over the northwest metro, and there’s a pretty special reason behind them all.

From high in the sky to down on the ground the sunflowers are captivating from every single angle.

The flowers are attracting bees and attracting humans like Alicia LaHaye of Dayton.

“We live down the road and we’ve been watching the sunflowers grow for the past few months and it’s to the point now where some are as tall as the kids, and some are as tall as me,” LaHaye said.

It’s is exactly the kind of reaction — the man behind the fields loves to see.

“The beauty that people are sharing, the light, the sunshine, people are beautiful. I can ramble on. It’s been just an emotional few weeks, it’s been awesome,” Johnny Olson said.

For the past few years, the real estate company owner, has been planting sunflowers in his spare time. This year, he knew amidst the saddest of times, the happiest of flowers would be in high demand.

Johnny worked with landowners in these towns to allow fields on their lots. They dedicated each field in the honor of someone who has been a giver to the world.

Right now Dayton and Monticello are in bloom, others will bloom into September.

“It’s a way just to bring people together have them get creative with their time and their talent and just give back, no strings attached that’s it,” Olson said.

He says photographers who’ve struggled during COVID-19 are finding work in the blooms, musicians are finding a safe venue, and amidst a world pulsing with anxiety, families are focusing on the sunnier side of life.

The fields are free, and since they are on private property, they are “enter at your own risk.”

Johnny asks that all visitors pay it forward.

For more information about where the sunflower fields are located, click here. 

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield