On­line com­mu­nity baf­fled by self­ish act

Unique flower stolen from Mount Den­son sun­flower maze


An on­line memo­rial of sorts has sprouted up on Face­book and is help­ing a lo­cal farmer grap­ple with what she calls a self­ish act.

Ear­lier this week, some­one swiped a unique flower from a Mount Den­son sun­flower maze, tram­pling the sur­round­ing area. When news broke on so­cial me­dia about the dis­cov­ery, com­menters were quick to con­demn the theft.

Jen Wil­son, who owns Dakeyne Farm with her hus­band, Ken, started the sun­flower maze seven years ago. Ev­ery year, she scat­ters a few new seeds through­out the maze. This year, a deep red sun­flower, af­fec­tion­ately dubbed Big Red, sprung up. It was a sight to be­hold.

“They re­ally only bloom for two weeks,” said Wil­son.

“The first flower had been open for prob­a­bly about a week and then it had two other flow­ers that had just opened and that’s what I was com­ing up to take a pic­ture of,” she said, not­ing she never got the chance to pho­to­graph its full beauty when she sought it out dur­ing her evening stroll Sept. 17.

Some­time be­tween Sept. 16-17, the sun­flower’s head was taken, and the area where it once proudly stood out among a sea of yel­low sway­ing sun­flow­ers was beaten down.

“My field gets beat down quite a bit any­ways be­cause peo­ple tend to go into the flow­ers, when they’re not sup­posed to for pho­tos,” said Wil­son.

“Big Red, of course, had a lit­tle path to it. Peo­ple were be­ing good; they were stay­ing on the lit­tle path that some­one else had put in and not break­ing any other flow­ers. She was good for a while,” she con­tin­ued.

Wil­son said she’s up­set by the theft and is hav­ing dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing why some­one would feel like they could take the flower.

“I just want to know why they thought they were en­ti­tled to it. Every­body else that came just took a pic­ture,” she said.

“There were still a cou­ple of flow­ers that hadn’t bloomed on it and they were com­ing out. They could have left it for the rest of us to see how pretty it was. But no, they felt like it was theirs, so they took it. I just want to know why they felt that way.”

Af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing dis­cov­ery, Wil­son spent some time on her com­puter search­ing for an in­spi­ra­tional quote — some­thing to lift her spir­its. She found a quote by Osho en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to not pick flow­ers.

Wil­son then ex­plained to her youngest daugh­ter, eight-year-old Dayita, who helps with the plant­ing of the maze, what had hap­pened. That con­ver­sa­tion turned into Wil­son ask­ing vis­i­tors to share their favourite images of Big Red, spark­ing an on­line com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion and a con­test to boot.

Sa­rina Holz, of Hal­i­fax, vis­ited the maze re­cently and spot­ted the red won­der. While she’s in Europe right now, she learned of the flower’s de­struc­tion via Face­book. She shared a photo she took of Big Red to the memo­rial/con­test page.

“I had no idea this sun­flower had such a sig­nif­i­cance other than it ob­vi­ously stood out of the rest of the lush yel­low ones sur­round­ing it,” said Holz in a Face­book mes­sage with the Val­ley Jour­nal-Ad­ver­tiser.

“When I read the story about it on Face­book I was very dis­ap­pointed and sad­dened that some­one would be so self­ish to pick it and take it so that oth­ers couldn’t ad­mire its beauty while vis­it­ing,” she said.

“The field is truly beau­ti­ful and sun­flow­ers have been my ab­so­lute favourite since I was a lit­tle kid. I find their sim­plic­ity ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful and they bring a smile to my face ev­ery time I see them; I was full of smiles walk­ing through that field to say the least.”

Con­test tie-in

Those who have a photo of Big Red are en­cour­aged to sub­mit it via Face­book for a chance to win two tick­ets to the up­com­ing zom­bie chicken maze.

Also a brain­child of Wil­son’s daugh­ters, this year the farm will be host­ing a spooky week­end maze lead­ing up to Hal­loween.

“They call our guinea hens zom­bie chick­ens. If you’ve ever seen a guinea hen, it’s got a white face and it’s kind of scary look­ing,” said Wil­son with a laugh.

The guinea hens will be wan­der­ing through­out the spent sun­flower maze, pick­ing at seed. She said the hens will squawk at vis­i­tors if they come too close.

The zom­bie chicken maze will be open Satur­days and Sun­days in Oc­to­ber. The cost is $10 for adults; $5 for chil­dren age four to 12 years; and free for chil­dren age three years and un­der.

Wil­son said the maze will “give you a lit­tle bit of a fright” but won’t be ter­ri­fy­ing. It also pro­vides a creepy, yet cool, back­drop for pho­tos.

“It also makes for great pic­tures be­cause the sun­flower heads them­selves can, in their own way, look creepy for pic­tures and there should still be lots,” she said. “We planted some gi­ant mam­moths and they still haven’t bloomed so I should have some yel­low sun­flow­ers in amongst all the brown.”

Stay­ing pos­i­tive is key

Wil­son said de­spite the theft, she doesn’t want to dwell on the neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially since she’s re­ceived such an out­pour­ing of sup­port from the on­line com­mu­nity. She’s even had of­fers of new seeds that could be planted next year.

“I was once a lit­tle seed cov­ered in dirt and it took a while for me to grow out of that dirt to bloom,” she said when asked how she has such a pos­i­tive out­look on life.

“Every­body strug­gles in life and my up­bring­ing wasn’t the best. I don’t see a point in dwelling in all of the hard­ship be­cause there’s al­ways some­thing out there that will make you smile,” she said.

“If you al­ways look to the sun­shine, like He­len Keller said, you let the shad­ows face your back. I just think it’s the best way to be is to al­ways look for the pos­i­tive in life.”

With the abil­ity to have peo­ple share pho­tos of Big Red and other blooms that in­spired them, Wil­son is lap­ping up the pos­i­tiv­ity and good­will that’s out there.

“In this cul­ture that we live in right now, it’s al­ways look­ing to the neg­a­tive. The news is al­ways neg­a­tive, your Face­book feed is neg­a­tive. So it’s nice to see a lit­tle bit of sun­shine in all that neg­a­tiv­ity. And that’s what the sun­flow­ers are about.”

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Be­cause if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about pos­ses­sion. Love is about ap­pre­ci­a­tion.”

~ Osho

Sa­rina Holz, of Hal­i­fax, snapped this photo of Big Red when she vis­ited Dakeyne Farm’s sun­flower maze in Septem­ber.

Jen Wil­son posted this Osho quote the day she dis­cov­ered her beloved Big Red sun­flower had been taken by a vis­i­tor to the sun­flower maze.

Jen Wil­son took this photo of Big Red when it first bloomed. When she re­turned to its lo­ca­tion in the sun­flower maze on Sept. 17 to take pho­tos of sec­ondary blooms, she dis­cov­ered some­one had stolen it.

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