‘Tis the season of flower tourism. Soon, seas of sunflowers will bloom in Tuscany, while Provence will soon be radiant with lavender fields. The cherry blossoms are already falling like rain in Washington D.C., while wispy wisterias sway like Spanish moss in Japan. From late March to mid-May, travelers everywhere make a beeline to the flower fields with the most buzz, sometimes to a detrimental effect.
“Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride,” read many of the signs that meet tourists visiting the impressive tulip fields that are currently blooming in Creil, northwest of Amsterdam. And, local tulip farmers are already feeling the impact of their flower fields’ instagrammabilty. Tourists are apparently stomping on (and around) the tulips to get the perfect shot, according to a report by Reuters, destroying what they came to see in the process.
This Easter weekend, more than 17 million tourists are expected to swarm “Boolenstreek” a “Tulip Belt” that extends along the Dutch coast from Haarlem to Leiden. The Hague’s April tourists are mostly there to see the Keukenhof flower show, one of the biggest most impressive flower shows in the world.
Fields of tulips aren’t the only blooms that have been destroyed by tourists this year. Earlier this spring, when hundreds of bright orange and yellow poppies bloomed in Southern California’s arid Walker Canyon in late March, thirsty Instagrammers and disrespectful travelers left a field of “crushed flowers and overflowing toilets” in their wake.
Nature’s annual flamboyant display of blooms reminds us of that scene in Alice In Wonderland where the flowers brag about how they’re the most popular girls in school. With a bat of an eyelash, a beautiful flower can get us to board a train or catch a flight to all kinds of far-flung destinations. And because these blooms are so ephemeral, they’re often gone in a blink. But we shouldn’t let our zeal get the best of us. So, like the sign says, “enjoy the flowers, respect our pride.”