LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - If you’re looking for something to brighten your yard and your day then the city of Lake Charles Recreation and Parks Department has you covered.
The program “Sun Up for Lake Chuck” is an effort to provide the community with fun and education activities.
Park Program manager Irvin Louque says right now they’re helping residents grow sunflowers, “Sunflowers are native to North America. They are one of the few crops that were domesticated here by Native Americans a few thousand years ago. Because they’re native here there are a lot of insects that eat the flowers.”
He says planting sunflowers can help give residents something to do, “With the coronavirus pandemic going on, we wanted to give something or to put together something that people could do at home. It’s called “Sun Up for Lake Chuck” and it’s a program to help everybody in this city whether a child or family or just someone who’s interested to plant some sunflowers In your yard. It’s a great learning opportunity as well.”
There are several areas where residents can pick up their sunflower seeds, “We have some seeds to give away. They’re at four of our recreation centers. Riverside Park, Tuten Park, Drew Park, and Bellard Community Center. We have a package that can be downloaded from the cities website, or you can come pick up the packet when you get your seeds. That packet has various lessons in there, throughout the whole growing season of the sunflower, essentially which is about 70 to 90 days.”
And growing the sunflowers can really help the environment, “There’s caterpillar’s that use them, different types of treehoppers and leaf-footed bugs and a lot of other insects that use them. So you’ll see the beginnings of a little ecosystem when you plant one or several sunflower plants in your yard.”
One of the reasons sunflowers were chosen is because they’re very easy to manage, “Sunflowers are really easy and that’s another reason we choose them. Just find a patch of dirt, plant the seeds about one inch deep. Cover them up and water them. They should start to growing in about a week or so as long as they get a lot of sun. They mature around two months or so. So if you planted them now you can expect to see them by September.”
You can share photos of your sunflowers on social media with the hashtag #sunupforlakechuck.
The photos will be showcased on the Lake Charles City Hall and Nature in Focus at Riverside and Tuten Park’s Facebook pages.