The way the sunlight falls on Kansas makes the surroundings in these photos glow like the settings Thomas Kinkade imagined for his landscape paintings. Gardens in northeastern Kansas are lush in late summer 2013.
Kansas is officially The Sunflower State. Kansas adopted the sunflower as its state flower in 1903. The sunflower adorns the Kansas quarter and flag.
According to the 1903 legislation, “Whereas, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, “the sunflower state” be it enacted that that the helianthus or wild native sunflower is … designated … the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas.”
Native Americans of the Great Plains ate the seeds and over time bred the flower into the robust, large-seeded modern one.
Kansas is also called the country’s breadbasket, the center of the Midwest or the Heartland of America. It’s the home of the fictional Dorothy and her little dog Toto who visited the wizard of Oz, and of famous BBQ sauces, jazz houses, KC stripe steaks, wheat fields and cornfields, and the invention of basketball at Kansas University.