Forget what the groundhog said last week about six more weeks of winter, because the flowers at U Pick Daffodils are almost ready to signal the start of spring in the Lowcountry.
Chuck Merrick, the farm’s co-owner with his wife, Diane, said — weather permitting — the fields will be ready for the public to visit next weekend, starting Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
An email sent out by the farm offered the possibility of flowers being available this Saturday, but Merrick said there is an extremely limited supply.
Not all the fields are open, he emphasized.
“If you want a flower show, you’ll need to wait another week,” he said.
Picking brilliant yellow flowers at the farm on 48 Pinckney Colony Road in Okatie — and posting photos of the fields on social media — are annual rites for many in the Beaufort County area.
The farm is open only for a brief time each spring while the flowers are blooming and the weather is nice.
Last year, on the heels of a mild winter, the farm opened Jan. 28 and was open until mid-March, with a few breaks because of weather and to give the fields time to rebloom.
By contrast, the weather lately has been more extreme, with Hurricane Irma sweeping through the Lowcountry last fall and 4 inches of snow just after the new year.
“We lost some trees this year, quite a few actually, and while having them cleared found more trees were damaged. We decided to go ahead and clear most of the fields and expand our daffodil offerings,” the farm’s website says.
Merrick said Hurricanes Matthew and Irma damaged trees, plus pine beetles took their toll.
But the good news is that, by next year, the farm’s fields and parking areas will be doubled in size, Merrick said.
“Don’t worry, we are expecting some beautiful blooms as usual this season,” the farm’s website says.
Merrick estimated that the farm has about 100,000 daffodil plants.
“We plant more each year,” he said.
Each flower picked costs 25 cents, but already picked daffodils are available for a little bit more.
The farm accepts cash and checks only.
“Email is the best way for people to get information,” Merrick said.