Trần Hoàng Nam
A day trip to Mê Linh Flower Village is a chance to escape from hustle and bustle and to fill one’s lungs with fresh air in flower fields after long days choking in Hà Nội's polluted air.
Located just 30km north of the capital, the area is a new flower hub offering fresh flowers for Hà Nội and northern provinces.
Though it does not have long history like Ngọc Hà and Nhật Tân villages, Mê Linh District now hosts more than 200ha of flower fields.
The village attracts both local and foreign visitors. VNA/VNS Photo Kim Chung
“Income from flowers has made significant changes to our life,’ said Trịnh Văn Phú, a local farmer. “In the past, we just planted rice, corn, vegetables and fruits.”
Flower fields featuring violet, gladiolus, mimosa, rose, daisy and lily have brought new colours for villages in Thanh Lâm, Đại Thịnh and Văn Khê communes, where the roads have been cemented and bigger and more beautiful houses have been built. Many people have also bought cars and modern technology.
“We still live on agriculture but our living standards have greatly improved,” Phú said.
A farmer works in her flower field. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Hóa
Few people would know that Mê Linh was formed accidentally nearly 20 years ago, when Nguyễn Văn Lợi, a student from the National Economics University, brought a Đà Lạt rose from a birthday party home to Mê Linh District, which was then part of the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc.
At that time, such a rose was a rare and luxury item found on postcards only, Lợi recalled.
“Passion for my future career drove me to graft the rose with wild rose plants popular in Mê Linh fields,” he said.
The mixed rose plant grew well, to Lợi’s surprise. He then spread the plant across his field with his older brother Nguyễn Văn Quý.
The first crop brought his family enough money to ease the loss of the family fish pond.
The family then grew more bumper flower crops, which inspired more households in the area to ask for help grafting plants, selecting genres and care techniques.
Gradually, flowers spread across the district, which now supplies flowers for northern provinces like Thanh Hoá, Bắc Giang, Yên Bái, Hà Giang and even exports overseas.
Visitors at a flower garden in Mê Linh. Photo baodulich.net
Unlike planting rice and vegetables, farmers can plant flowers year-round.
Early in the morning and around 4pm in the afternoon, the fields are full of farmers busy cutting and caring for flowers. Bikes and cars driven by wholesalers flock to the fields to buy flowers at the same time.
Not only wholesalers, domestic and foreign tourists also visit to enjoy the immense flower fields.
“We like this flower field as it is not too busy like the ones in Hà Nội,” said Phí Thanh Đức, who took his wedding photos in the field. “It’s not also too far to travel during the day. The atmosphere here is so fresh and cool.”
Lê Thanh Mai, a student from Hà Nội, said she liked the flower market as there were many kinds of flowers on all corners of the rural roads.
“I spent my time filling my lungs with the fresh air and scent of flowers, and also taking a lot of wonderful selfies and 'wefies' with my friends," she said.
A farmer harvests chrysanthemums in his field. Photo sapo.vn
According to local farmers, the best time to visit Mê Linh is between the 12th lunar month and the third lunar month of the new year, when many kinds of flowers come to full bloom to prepare for Tết (lunar New Year).
Land of heroines
Mê Linh was the residential area of generals during the Hùng King’s era in early history.
The fertile land used to be an economic and cultural exchange centre between mountainous, mid-land and neighbouring areas of Thăng Long Citadel.
Like other historical locations in the country, Mê Linh District now hosts various historical sites including communal houses, temples and archaeological sites.
Hai Bà Trưng Temple in Hạ Lôi Village, Mê Linh Commune, Mê Linh District. Photo langvietonline.vn
Thành Dền archaeological site in Tự Lập Commune was first discovered in 1970. Objects unearthed included stone, bronze and ceramic objects, including many bronze casts.
Scientists confirmed that Thành Dền used to be not only a residential area but also an important bronze casting centre dating back to the 15th century BC.
The land was also where the two Trưng sisters (who lived between 14 AD and 43 AD) spent their childhood, grew up and started their revolution against Chinese invaders (between 40-43 AD). After their victory in 43 AD, the older Trưng Trắc came to throne and claimed the area the capital of Lĩnh Nam State (early name of Việt Nam).
Their revolution was the first armed revolution of the Vietnamese people, which overthrew Chinese power lasting more than 200 years.
The two sisters are considered the first heroines of the Vietnamese people.
Every year, Hai Bà Trưng Temple hosts a festival on 4-10th of lunar first month, the same days the two sisters gathered their troops. The main day is the sixth, when people organise worship ceremonies for the two sisters and various folk games to entertain locals.
That’s why among more than 100 temples dedicated to the Trưng sisters in nine provinces and cities in the north, the temple to them in Hạ Lôi Village, Mê Linh Commune, Mê Linh District is most important. VNS