An Island tulip grower is asking people taking photos of his flowers to stay out of his fields and visit a nearby tulip U-pick instead.
Bas Arendse owns Vanco Tulips, which has fields in Dromore and Montague. He said that at this time of year, when tulips are in full bloom, it's common to see people out in his fields snapping pictures.
But while Arendse said it pleases him that people are so fond of the tulips, he'd like them to know that all that traffic causes extensive damage to his product: People stepping on the flowers stunts their growth, and there's also damage to the bulbs, which Vanco sells for tulip production.
"It's harmful to the crop, and essentially to us," Arendse said.
"It's different year to year. But we've had years where we had thousands of dollars' worth of damage, for sure."
Arendse said that the damage is not the only way his business is being impacted: Often people will help themselves to some flowers, too.
That's why he's partnered with some nearby farmers to grow the tulips in a nearby field in Belfast, and offer a U-pick option.
"It's just a great opportunity for people to be in the field when [Arendse] is trying to protect his growing fields," said Trisha Viaene, who runs Belfast Tulips.
The business plants Vanco tulip bulbs in the fall. Once they bloom the following year, Belfast Tulips open to the public, who can walk right into the tulip fields for a fee — and pick some to take home, too.
Viaene said it's a place where people can enjoy the tulips and take photos with them without damaging Vanco's main tulip fields.
"When it's just one person and one photo, that really becomes hundreds of people that are looking to do the same thing. So you can't allow one person to do it without allowing everybody else," said Viaene.
Belfast Tulips is open for business, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until dusk. The fields will remain open until the short tulip season is over around early June.
People wishing to photograph his fields from a distance or view them from the roadside are welcome to do so, Arendse said.