NHDOT's Sunflower Fluke Explained

Sep 20, 2013

At the DOT's request, NHPR did not pull over to take photos of the sunflowers growing in highway medians. This photo was made available on Flickr's Creative Commons license.
Credit Diego Sevilla Ruiz

  A fluke at the state’s Department of Transportation has been catching the eyes of commuters in New Hampshire. 

The DOT’s public information officer Bill Boynton is used to getting complaints from drivers about potholes and congestion.  So, he says it was nice when drivers started calling in praising the sunflower beds, which were blooming on highway medians.  But, he says, ”the more we looked into it the more we realized it wasn’t part of any plan.”

The DOT had planted wildflowers – as they do every year -- with funds from the Conservation Moose Plate program.  “And somehow,” Boynton says, “and it still hasn’t been solved, some sunflowers got into the mix this year, in as many as seven beds across the state.”

Boynton says he doesn’t think some state employee prankster did the deed.  He’s pointing fingers at the nursery’s supplier, in Vermont.

In this era of Instagram, Boynton says some problems have arisen with folks pulling over on the highway. He asks the public to just enjoy the flowers as they pass by.

Not that the DOT has taken its own advice or anything. “We actually put a picture up on our own Facebook page,” Boynton admits.

He says the DOT is looking into repeating the happy accident again next year, although it’s not guaranteed.