HALIFAX—Instagram and Facebook are full of fun photos featuring a sea of sunflowers from Nova Scotia’s Dakeyne Farm, but between Sunday and Monday night one special flower was plucked and the internet is reacting.
Big Red was an unusual deep red sunflower who stood out in a sea of yellow at the Mount Denson farm field. The sunflower maze where she once swayed is now hosting an “online memorial service” encouraging visitors to post their photos of the fallen flower. The most liked or loved photo wins two free passes to the farm’s zombie chicken maze.
“We are sad to announce. an unkind soul selfishly picked the one beautiful red flower in the back for themselves,” notes a Dakeyne Farm Facebook post. “We are so sorry that human didn’t love you enough to leave you to live and become seed for next year or care enough to leave you be so that others could love your beauty too.”
While not on par with the disastrous crowd of more than 7,000 selfie seekers who overran a sunflower farm near Hamilton, Ont. forcing it to shut down, visitors to the Nova Scotia farm reacted with disappointment.
“Unreal. People just suck sometimes,” Merle Rose wrote on the farm’s Facebook page.
“Not only sad but stupid. A smart person would have asked if they could have or buy a seed from this flower which would allow them to grow their own,” Appleby Davidson said.
“What?!!!! This is so sad! It’s awful that one person ruins it for everyone,” wrote Josette McCauley.
Jen Wilson and her husband own Dakeyne Farm and started the sunflower maze seven years ago. Each year, she and her children pick out a few different seed varieties to throw out in the field while planting the bright yellow sunflowers that draw huge crowds every fall.
The only unusual sunflower to pop up this year was Big Red, and Wilson said she left an impression.
“It is nice to see that I wasn’t the only one who thought that she was a bit special … She was different. There are so many people in this world and we all feel a little different sometimes,” Wilson said.
“Big Red was out there reminding you that you know, you’re not the only one. Other people are different too, right? It made you smile to see her proudly standing up out there. It was beautiful to see her red colour against that yellow back.”
Wilson first noticed Big Red was missing while on her nightly stroll around the maze Monday night looking for things visitors may have dropped or lost.
“It was sunset so I was hoping for a really nice photo and so I get there and she was gone,” Wilson said. “Where she was living, it was all trampled. So somebody went in there and they broke her head off and walked away with it.”
Wilson said if given the opportunity to speak to the person who took Big Red, she’d ask “why they felt they deserved that flower over everybody else who’s come to visit us.” She would also invite them to return next year to help her family plant the maze.
“I would want them to see how we put our love into our field for our kids and for our family so that they understand,” she said. “I think whoever took it was probably someone who wasn’t taught that you shouldn’t take things that aren’t yours.”
Wilson’s youngest daughter, who’s 8, asked her mother if it was possible to have a photo contest in honour of Big Red. Using it as an online memorial and an opportunity to give free tickets to the farm’s upcoming Halloween-themed maze seemed fitting.
“We love turning lemons into lemonade,” she said.
“People need a little bit of education as to why you shouldn’t take the special one and this is a good way to do it. We’re just trying to be a little spot of positivity.”
Once the sunflowers are done, the field will become a zombie chicken maze that will welcome visitors every weekend throughout the month of October.
“We’re going to let guinea hens go in the field and as you’re walking through the (sunflower) seed heads, they’re going to pop out and squawk out at you so it’ll be scary but it won’t be too scary,” Wilson explained.
Yvette d’Entremont is a Halifax-based reporter focusing on health and environment. Follow her on Twitter: @ydentremont