Mekong Delta flower village gets decked up as spring approaches

 Farmers in Sa Dec Village, famous for the flowers it cultivates for the Tet festival, are busy all day putting finishing touches to their blooming crops.

The village in Dong Thap Province’s Tan Qui Dong Commune has 2,000 households earning a living mainly from growing flowers and ornamental trees. It is considered the floral capital of the Mekong Delta and a main supplier of flowers to provinces and cities across the country.

A farmer uses his boat to take care of baskets of chrysanthemum morifolium planted on platforms built above a water logged area.

Vietnamese have a long tradition of using fresh flowers as offerings to deities and their ancestors to pray for luck; and to decorate their homes during the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on the first of February.

For this Tet season, an estimated 100,000 baskets of yellow chrysanthemums will be supplied to neighboring localities, including Ho Chi Minh City, around 5,000 pots less than last year.

Most of chrysanthemum pots are sold for VND150,000-170,000 ($6.62-7.50) a pair.

A unique feature of Sa Dec is that villagers grow flowers all year round on platforms built above water. Farmers, therefore, have to wear boots or use boats when they tend to the plants or harvest them.

Locals say this method helps them save costs because most of the arable land has been appropriated for rice farming in low lying terrain that floods easily.

Dang Tuan Hai (L), a Sa Dec farmer, prepares to deliver 5,000 pots of sulfur cosmos to traders in Kien Giang Province.

Hai said that due to the severe impacts of the pandemic, the Tet market would not flourish as in previous years. So he has not invested much in this year's crop.

During the fourth coronavirus wave that hit the country last April, the Mekong Delta region was heavily affected.

The sulfur cosmos flowers start blooming 45 days after they are planted. Each pot is priced at VND10,000 and farmers can earn nearly half of it as profit. Before the full moon of the last lunar month, these flowers will be sold to buyers for display at spring flower streets.

Ut An, a farmer on Street No.848 in Sa Dec, prepares to deliver 5,000 baskets of flowers to traders on January 13.

He said the number of customers has decreased sharply against previous years, but he hoped for some positive signs in the coming days.

Lien said she has only planted 1,000 baskets of chrysanthemums for this Tet season, down 75 percent against previous years. Each pot of chrysanthemums is sold at VND30,000.

Pots are flowers of various kinds are loaded on to a pickup truck for delivery to customers.

According to the Sa Dec administration, the area of ornamental flowers for this Lunar New Year is about 45 hectares, down 50 percent compared to last year.

A woman waters flower plants pruned and shaped into various animals in giant pots.

Vietnam will celebrate Tet this year with a nine day holiday starting January 29. Mekong Delta gardeners leave their homes for HCMC during the festival season to sell flowers, flowering plants and bonsais.

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