A Yarrow man has once again turned his property into a tranquil field of colourful flowers and winding pathways.
Jesse Wegenast’s Cultus Lake Flower Fest is in full bloom for the second year in a row with towering sunflowers, delicate wild flowers, and colourful dahlias, zinnias, and cosmos.
But there are a few things different this year than last.
Although his outdoor attraction is a low-contact space and there are usually about 30 visitors each day, he has still increased his sanitation protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Picnic tables are wiped down after every use, there are one-way directional paths through the flowers, and they are open shorter hours.
People have been physically distancing themselves from others, too.
“I find the guests have been very respectful,” he said.
While the field is about two-thirds the size of what was planted in 2019, it’s still “mighty beautiful” and there’s a lot more variety, Wegenast said of the two-acre space.
He admits it was hard to find the motivation to bring the Cultus Lake Flower Fest back this year.
“I had a few plants that I had already started, and I had promised a friend of mine [last year] that they could come and get married here, so that’s what kept me going to power through.”
He recalls waking up one morning and seeing 100,000 volunteer sunflowers had come up as a result of last year’s festival.
“There were so many sunflowers that I had to go through with a weed eater to thin them out.”
Another volunteer plant that came up was last year’s fall rye.
“That’s the cover crop,” Wegenast said touching the soft seedhead.
“The reason why it came up is because this was my first attempt at plowing any field, and when you don’t have any experience, you don’t do the greatest job. When you don’t do the greatest job, a lot comes back up,” he chuckled.
He’s “pleasantly surprised” with how the entrance turned out this year where folks can see black-eyed Susans, marigolds, dahlias and more.
“This year I’ve really endeavoured to create a little bit more of a formal feel to this part,” he said of the well-maintained flower beds.
The front area is tidy and manicured whereas the wild flowers and sunflowers are more free-growing.
Everything in the front section was started in a greenhouse and planted by hand.
He said it’s “impossible” to figure out just how many hours have gone into this year’s event, but he knows the effort has been worth it.
“People need something to do. People have been inside for a long time.”
The Cultus Lake Flower Fest is located at 4215 Wilson Rd. in Yarrow. It runs from July 20 to Sept. 1. Hours are daily from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (or around dusk). Tickets are $5 per person, admission is free for children aged six and under.
Custom bouquets can be made for $10 or $20.
For more info, including days they are closed to the public for private events, go to cultuslakeflowerfest.com.