Doom and bloom: 'zombie apocalypse' at sunflower farm
Stunned owners shut gates as hordes of Instagrammers on crazed selfie mission tear through their fields
Hordes of sunflower selfie-seekers shut down a family-run Canadian farm after thousands of visitors blocked a busy motorway and trampled crops in search of the perfect photo.
The Bogle Seeds in Hamilton, Ontario, opened their 250-acre farm for the public to enjoy views of their stunning rows of 1.4 million blooming sunflowers for two weeks from July 20.
But the Bogles were forced to close the sunflower spectacle when about 7,000 cars turned up on Saturday, with some visitors walking in front of motorway traffic with children to visit the farm, which is about an hour’s drive from Toronto.
They posted on Facebook that “people were parking on the side of [the] highway and running across the road in front of traffic”.“The police received many calls to 911 about it, so they came out and said that it’s too dangerous on the roads and that we have to shut down our sunflower viewing.”
The family’s excitement over sunflower season quickly turned to disappointment when their farm became “overwhelmed” by visitors, some of whom strolled onto the property, where generations of the family have been farming since 1874, without paying the $7.50 (about R77) admission fee.
In search of the perfect social media snapshot, some people walked deep into the 75-acre crop of sunflowers, trampling and damaging the plants in the process.
One visitor told local media she saw “quite a few” sunflowers that were “damaged, broken and lying on the ground”.
One of the Bogles likened it to a “zombie apocalypse”, as people abandoned their vehicles on the side of the road to visit the farm, which is the largest grower of sunflowers in Ontario.Some were parked more than 1km away, with the farm’s carpark only able to accommodate 300 vehicles.
Complaints from neighbours included one visitor urinating on his front yard and another who rummaged through his mailbox, while rubbish from visitors was also left strewn across the field.
Owners of the sixth-generation family farm, Barry and Marlene Bogle, had opened their farm to painters and photographers three years ago without any trouble.
This year, however, word quickly spread after dozens of popular posts from influencers on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, resulting in the family turning people away.Despite telling visitors to stay away, some people are still arriving and trespassing on the private property. Some, unhappy at being turned away, have even threatened the family.
Having previously encouraged visitors to come and experience the “quiet country setting”, the Bogles say it is now unlikely they will open their sunflowers to the public in the future.
– © The Daily Telegraph