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Fill It with Flowers

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She's got a green thumb.

"Wild dream is a world filled with wild roses. When the battle is over, I want to fill the world with flowers."

Here's a place, often a whole world, that is somewhat on the bleak side. This is no Arcadia, and may even be a Death World.

Depressed by this landscape, a (usually) female character decides to rectify the situation. She wants to plant flowers throughout the land, to transform it into an Eden of multicoloured blooms. If she has Fertile Feet, this may be relatively easy; otherwise, it's a lot of hard work.

For whatever reason, it's very rare for the woman to do what she sets out to do. If she eventually gets her wish, it will usually be at the hand of a male counterpart, probably a love interest, perhaps as a result of her Passing the Torch upon her death. In this case, the resultant field of flowers is a tribute to her memory, like a gravestone the size of a landscape.

Male characters can also be used for this trope, but a man is more likely to want to plant trees than flowers, which are a more masculine symbol. Moreover, he will not generally need the opposite sex's help. Trees or flowers, man's dream or woman's, it is a man's work that will get it done in the end: an unfortunate Double Standard.

Either way, the greenery is a visual symbol that the world has been saved and brought to a more pleasant state. This may be used to send a message about nature.

Related to Hope Sprouts Eternal and Caring Gardener. See also Flower Motifs. Compare and contrast with the Grand Romantic Gesture of filling your beloved's room/house with flowers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the expanded movie of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, after the Time Skip and apparent defeat of the Evil Overlord, Nia confesses that she hopes to help the reconstruction of the world by filling it with flowers. Simon agrees and offers to help, but she refuses, saying that he has work of his own to do. In the Distant Finale, long after Nia's death, we see Simon Walking the Earth, fulfilling her dream. He digs a well for an impoverished village, and says that they can repay him by filling their land with flowers.
  • The Trigun episode "Little Arcadia'' is about a couple whose dream is to nourish a lush forest that miraculously grows on their nigh-uninhabitable planet.
  • In Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, this trope saves the Earth from becoming a Death World.

    Films — Animation 
  • Abominable: When Yi plays her father's violin, the music covers the Buddha statue with white flowers. At first, she thinks that Everest did that, but the Yet signals it was she - and the violin he altered with his magic.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: After Crista is gulped by Hexxus by her own will, branches start sprouting on his body. Encouraged by Pips, the fairies get together to turn Hexxus in a tree, which is naked except by a small green portion with flowers. One of the flowers opens, freeing Crista, and flowers start blooming at her passage, hinting she's inherited her mentor Magi Lune's power. After Zak is restored to his normal size and reunites to his human friends, he turns and sees the fairies covering the tree and all the ground around it with plants and flowers.
  • A Monster in Paris: During the credits, Lucille, Maude, Charles, Raoul, Émile and Francoeur fly on an airship over the flooded Seine to drop chemically altered seeds on the water. The river gets full with giant sunflowers that suck up the excess of water.
  • A male example and a rare case in which this is portrayed negatively occurs in The Return of the King. While tempting Samwise to claim it, the Ring portrays him as "Samwise the Strong", conquering Sauron and transforming Mordor into a huge, beautiful garden. Sam's plain hobbit sense (just barely) proves too strong for the attempt, and besides, he realizes that he'd never be able to tend such a huge garden on his own. He could command others to do so, but that isn't what he wants.
  • A male example: in A Troll in Central Park, Stanley wants to fill all of New York City with flowers. He succeeds in the end.
  • Wizards: Begun by Avatar the good wizard as he and Weehawk make their way into Scortch One. Avatar is still suffering from the jolt that cute fairy Elinore slew Peace, then defected to the forces of Scortch, so he distracts himself by magically creating colorful flowers amid the bleak and gaunt tenements. Weehawk the elf has his hands full steering this dotty old wizard toward their objective: a showdown with wicked wizard Blackwolf.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A somewhat strange example: in the movie Joe's Apartment, Lily is working to make a garden in a depressed neighbourhood to make it a better place. The villains of the story make sure that the garden is destroyed. Joe likes Lily and wishes her to be happy and with the help of his cockroach friends and all of the rats, pigeons, etc. that the roaches can muster, Lily's garden is rebuilt.
  • Subverted example in The Proposition, where Stanley's struggle to maintain a proper English rose garden (complete with picket fence) in the dry Australian outback is a metaphor for his hopeless ambition to "tame" the country he's living in.
  • A negative version of this appears in Black Narcissus. Sister Philippa plants the convent's vegetable garden with flowers instead - and it's a sign that the exotic environment has caused the nuns to lose their sanity slightly. The flowers also mean that there will be hardly any food for the next year.
  • In the 1994 short film Home Away From Home, written and directed by Maureen Blackwood, a Ghanaian single mother (Ellen Thomas) lives in a dreary housing development in London. Extremely homesick, she builds a traditional mud hut in the backyard. Her very "modern", snarky children, especially teenage Fumi (Ashabi Ajikawo), are at first embarrassed, then enchanted. Fumi begins sleeping in the hut and dressing more traditionally, including wearing kente. Unfortunately, the white neighbors are scandalized. They destroy the hut and scrawl "SAVAGES" on the sidewalk. Fumi, overcome with rage, recruits her siblings to help her fill the backyard with huge, showy, colorful flowers, both as a gift to her mom and Take That! to the racist neighbors. This was shown on the PBS series Alive TV (originally Alive from Off Center), which featured a very wide variety of experimental short films. It won several awards, was included in Critics' Week at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and is now enshrined in The Criterion Collection.

  • Belgariad: Done somewhat unintentionally: Garion's cousin Adara asks him to make a bush bloom to prove his magic. He refuses because doing so would kill the bush, but takes a twig and creates a flower just for her. The two go back home, leaving the flower forgotten. And many years later, they find it has spread throughout the area, and moreover, has powerful curative properties.
  • Biting the Sun: In the second novel, Drinking Sapphire Wine, the narrator is exiled to the desert. A bizarre accident waters the land surrounding her craft and brings it to green, fragrant life. She's already witnessed a desert bloom and knows its magic, so she's determined to keep "My Garden" going. The story is how she does it, and the garden's effect not just on her but on the people (and robots) of the dome cities. (The entire project is conceived and initially carried out by the female lead. Male allies help later, but not until after the garden is well underway.)
  • Dragon Series: The Inland Sea became a wasteland when Civet stole it, and its iconic flowers, Ebony's Tears, were all but extinct. In the second book, Shimmer and Monkey sacrificed the last specimen in existence to summon the Lord of the Flowers. At the end of the final book, when the sea is finally restored, the Lord of the Flowers shows up and gifts Shimmer with another specimen; as soon as they plant it, it multiplies to spread over the entire shoreline.
  • Howl's Moving Castle: This happens twice: Wizard Suliman wants to make the Waste bloom to counteract the power of the Witch who lives there. As she likes to think of herself as "a solitary orchid" in the desert, it doesn't work. Howl comes along later and has another try, which is more successful especially as a romantic offering to Sophie but still doesn't ward off the Witch.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Aslan is resurrected, he celebrates by leaping around the area. Wherever he lands, flowers spring up. It's the first sign of Jadis's reign officially coming to an end in Narnia.
  • The Man Who Planted Trees is a male equivalent on the idea. See the other wiki for details.
  • Mistborn: Kelsier's Dead to Begin With wife Mare had had this intention in the face of a history of a thousand years in a Crapsack World. She had a picture of a flower (no one alive had ever seen one) that she carried to her death and bequeathed to Kelsier. The picture later passes on to Vin, who gives it to Sazed when he's facing a religious crisis. And in the end, Sazed becomes a God, and uses the picture, among other information, to recreate the world as it once was. The surviving characters awaken to find themselves in a field of flowers.
  • The Secret Garden: This is of course the objective of Mary Lennox. She finds her aunt's old garden, neglected and dead-looking after ten years, and sets about trying to restore it. The sight of the garden restored to its former beauty, and his son walking again, is what brings her uncle out of his Excessive Mourning.
  • Julie Andrews' Mandy is roughly similar; an orphan girl discovers a neglected cottage and yard. She begs, borrows, and flat-out steals what she needs to fix it up, and it becomes her world. Naturally, like in Horatio Alger, Jr. tales, there's a secret Wealthy Philanthropist behind the scenes who actually owns the place, catches onto what Mandy is doing, and becomes her Anonymous Benefactor before revealing himself and adopting her.
  • On 2034, one of the earliest human settlers, Benjamin Driscoll of Martian Chronicles, plant trees to produce oxygen. After one month, he fear a draught will destroy all his saplings but, instead, a bountiful rain produce hige forests.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Bones, Son of Cyrano", Mr. Boynton advises Miss Brooks to order some flowers from the school nursery to brighten up her classroom. She accordingly writes a letter to Mr. Conklin. Unfortunately, the dimwitted Bones Snodgrass mixes up his deliveries, and gives Mr. Conklin a love letter, claiming it's from Miss Brooks. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Charmed:
    • An episode featured a demon drinking from the Eternal Spring to become immortal - and therefore unkillable. So the sisters instead turn him into a tree in the Enchanted Forest.
    • Overall this is the raison d'etre of the wood nymphs. Wherever they go, flowers sprout.
    • Parodied in a flashback episode that reveals the sisters' awesome grandma was actually Granola Girl in the '60s. Her first vanquishing spell asks to make the demon's remains "good for the environment" - and he explodes into flower petals.

  • Henrik Wergeland had flower motifs all over. One of his most visual examples come in the one-act farce Do not lie, telling the story of two hecklers, and how the poet is handling them. His solution is to send in a flower-fairy, dumping an entire flower garden in their heads, with specific instruction on how the different flowers will work their magic on them.
    Hecklers: Help, we perish in flowers!
    Florilla: That is a poète's way of revenging himself.

    Video Games 
  • Fiona in Chrono Trigger. In her case, she tends a forest that is turning into a desert, hoping to use a mystical seedling that has been passed down throughout her family for generations, but is impeded first by the absence of her husband Marco, then by the presence of monsters in the region, and finally by the sheer toil required to make it work. The party leaves their Robot Buddy behind, and comes back for him in 400 years, heavily worn out but with a huge and healthy forest to show for it.
  • Little Big Adventure: In Relentless, Twinsen must give the magic flute to the old bunny he finds in the desert, so he'll give him guitar. The bunny uses the flute to fulfill his old dream of making flowers bloom on that arid place.
  • In the Lufia & The Fortress of Doom game, the party visits a city that is heavily industrialised but has patches of flowers throughout it. In the prequel Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, the player finds out why: 100 years prior, a factory was producing pollution that was killing all nearby flowers. After the local Innocent Flower Girl complained of this to the scientist who owned the factory, he promised to reverse the situation.
  • In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, Razzy wants to turn Wystern (A floating metal tower Venice analog with an economy based on selling weapon) into a city of flowers if she wins the tournament and becomes one of the city's Craftlords. Due to Pratty defeating her early on, she promises to implement Razzy's dream if she wins, resulting in an explicit and blatant crush.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Firion has the dream to fill the world with wild roses. The wild rose itself is both a metaphor for people living free from oppression of tyrants like his Arch-Enemy The Emperor as well as a throwback to the watchword of the Rebel Army in Final Fantasy II. Wishy-washy hero of Final Fantasy VII Cloud Strife, who cannot find a reason to continue fighting, finds strength in Firion's dream and it helps inspire him and later Terra to keep fighting.
  • Ōkami: Most of the game is about Amaterasu's quest to sweep the blight from Nippon and restore the flowers and growing plants. Even enemies turn into flowers when she's defeated them.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Platinum: Floaroma Town was a barren wasteland that couldn't sustain any plant life. Then, one day, someone expressed gratitude for the blessings of nature, and since that day it's been covered in flowers. The same thing happens if you have Oak's Letter: engrave a message of gratitude at the end of Route 224, and the barren ground will bloom...and the flower-covered Seabreak Path will appear, leading to the Flower Paradise. And of course, in Flower Paradise, you'll find the being responsible: the Mythical Pokémon Shaymin, the Gratitude Pokémon.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse: In the epilogue of the Massacre ending, after Nanashi becomes the new Creator God, the first thing he makes is a huge field full of flowers out of the sunless and dying city of Tokyo.
  • Pikmin Bloom: One of the main focuses of the game is to populate the (at first) barren in-app map with trails of flowers by walking in the real world. The flowers disappear from the world after a week, encouraging players to keep going out.
  • Wild ARMs: Mariel tries to bring back greenery to Filgaia by planting and caring for as many flowers as possible. This is because she has an Elw, so has a strong bond with nature but also because she's atoning for her brother's mistake in creating the Guardian Blade and the Holmcross Project, both of which caused immense devastation to the planet.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation has Lily's Proposal, a phenomenon that causes the world to bloom with flowers whenever The End of the World as We Know It is imminent. It's an atypical example of the trope in that while the trope typically focuses on hope and new growth, Lily's Proposal signals the end, that people should accept their inevitable doom and spend the time they have left in peace.

    Western Animation 
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "The Bitter Rose", a mourning goddess possessed the eponymous rose and didn't permit anything else to grow in a mountain out of grief for her deceased husband. Many years later, Orko picks up the rose to give it for his girlfriend Dree Elle; the rose is destroyed accidentaly by Skeletor's minions, but somehow, Dree Elle revives the flower when she touches it. The goddess is so touched by the true love between the small trollans, that she finally is able to let go of her grief and, in gratitude, she covers the mountain with flowers.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "Flowers For Hordak", Hordak has Perfuma captured and tossed in his "darkest, dampest, dismallest" dungeon, but that backfires spectacularly, because Perfuma breaks free by filling the lock of her cell with flowers. Instead of running away, she decides to redecorate the entire Fright Zone and the Horde Troopers with flowers, horrifying Hordak, who can't stand beauty.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In the last episode, She-Ra uses her newly acquired powers to turn Horde Prime's ship into a giant, floating tree and cover all Etheria with plants and flowers.

    Real Life 
  • Johnny Appleseed, with trees instead of flowers.
  • During her time as First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson made national beautification a priority. Her efforts resulted in such measures as the Highway Beautification Act, which limited the use of billboards along highways to encourage the growth of wildflowers.
  • Bud McQuade, of Redding, Connecticut, planted daffodils because his wife loved them and kept on planting and caring for them in her memory. When he died at 103, a neighbor bought his property to keep the tradition and some forty thousand daffodils alive.
  • Henrik Wergeland, said to always have some seeds in his pocket.