After a sudden storm levelled nearly half of their picturesque crop, the organizers of the Sunflowers of Elora Festival have made the best of a bad situation.
Festival organizer and Fieldstone Barn owner Melinda Croft put out a call on social media Thursday evening, inviting people to come with clippers and buckets to collect the felled flowers and distribute them in the community.
“Sunflowers are just one of those happy flowers,” explained Croft. “And the crop went down but it still had lots and lots of beautiful blooms on it, so we thought, let's turn this around."
Croft said she wasn’t sure what kind of response her post would get, but in the end “people came in flocks” to take the flowers to hospitals, retirement homes, local businesses and “really anyone could use a little bit of happiness.”
As of around 3 p.m. on Friday, she estimated around 20 ad-hoc flower harvesters had stopped by to help collect hundreds of blooms.
“People were leaving with buckets and Rubbermaid bins,” she said.
Residents at Wellington Terrace long-term care home in Fergus were among the recipients.
Assistant administrator Peg Muhlbauer says the flowers have been placed in common areas like living and dining rooms for residents to enjoy.
“It certainly brought some sunshine from the outdoors into the home,” she said, expressing gratitude to the community for the “beautiful donation.”
As for the sunflower festival, Croft said although upon seeing the damage she initially wondered if they’d have to shut it down early, organizers have decided to persevere, despite losing one of their two flower fields to the storm.
“You know last year we had one field, and now we still have one field,” she said with a small laugh. “So we’re just thankful for that.”
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com