ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — In a clash of Canadian icons, a hungry Newfoundland moose destroyed a Maple Leaf tulip display planted to mark Canada 150 celebrations.
The intruder left tell-tale hoof prints as it laid waste to hundreds of sprouting plants at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden in St. John's, N.L.
"You can imagine what a botanical garden is to moose in spring,'' said horticulturalist Tim Walsh.
"It's a giant salad bar. When they finally find these delicious, sweet tulip leaves after a winter of eating nothing but fir branches and tree bark, these tulips must have been a very sweet meal.''
Gardeners pose with the remains of what was meant to be a red and white Maple Leaf display for Canada 150. (Photo: MUN Botanical Garden/Facebook)
Walsh said volunteers helped plant about 800 bulbs last fall that were to bloom as a white Maple Leaf against a red background. The donated tulips came from P.E.I.-based company Veseys Bulbs, which contributed to celebration gardens across Canada.
But staff arrived at the botanical garden last week to find a mess of stalks chewed down to the soil.
Photos posted to Facebook have spawned many quips about the munching moose that ruined Canada Day.
"You can imagine what a botanical garden is to moose in spring."
Walsh said there's still a good chance the bulbs will sprout new plants that will flower next year — if they can keep moose that live in surrounding forests from feasting on them.
"As gardeners, you have to be resilient. You have to look at the bright side of things.
"If you're going to have tulips in your garden and if you're going to lose them, what better Canadian way than to lose them to the moose?''