A sunflower farm in Hamilton, Ontario had to call for police action after selfie-obsessed tourists literally stampeded all over their property.
The 70-acre farm, home to the Bogle family, is used to harvest sunflower seeds as bird food and blooms into an oasis of sunflowers every season.
Wanting to share the beauty that deserved attention, the Bogles invited people in the summer of 2015 to enter the farm and roam throughout the sunflowers after noticing onlookers stopping along the road to take photos. Everything seemed to be going well, so the Bogles did the same thing at the end of last month.
It lasted eight days.
Then, as with any other beautiful thing in this world, chaos ensued. What started as a perfectly appropriate 150-person group grew to a throng of 7,000 obnoxious tourists. The culprit? Social media, duh.
“They were knocking down sunflowers and taking flower heads with them. We went from a week of amazing to that,” Barry Bogle told The New York Times. “I’ve described it as a zombie apocalypse. There were so many cars. People were walking in and around them. No one would move.”
Cars arrived upwards of two hours before the farm even opened, and soon their makeshift 300-car lot was overflowed and cars were perched in ditches and along side roads. As plants were trampled and flower heads were snapped off their stalks to be used as props, the Bogles kicked everyone off of their property in an attempt to save what was left of their field. They even got the police involved.
The Bogles, who claimed, “We are farmers. We don’t want to be famous,” aren’t on Instagram. They don’t know how to use Snapchat. But they were unaware that other websites were using a Facebook post -- advertising their $7.50 tickets to view the sunflowers -- to spread the word about what turned into #BogleSeeds.
Back in my hometown, I grew up visiting a giant field of daffodils found off a discreet walking trail that bloomed beautifully every season. But more and more people figured out that it was there, and the town took over to keep it safe. There are now paths intersecting the blooms of daffodils and a donation box at the head of the trail. What used to be a natural secret turned into a photo op.
So I feel for the Bogles. Back off, obnoxious bloggers -- go buy a fake sunflower at Michael’s and call it a day.