Flower Philanthropy: Sharing a Bounty of Beauty

We grow all sorts of wonderful veggies and fruits to feed and fuel our bodies, but we also grow an abundance of beauty to feed our senses and souls.  While it is certainly satisfying to share our edible abundance, in many ways it is a special joy to give away my flowers.

Flower Philanthropy…An Idea I’d Love to See Grow

‘Flower Philanthropy’, as I call it, is an idea I’d love to see grow!  I am now enrolled in the Master Gardener course through our county’s Extension Office, where I have learned tons AND found a committed community of like-minded – okay, fanatic! – gardeners.  Who better than Master Gardeners to talk with about the possibilities of sharing a bounty of beauty.

The first project I was involved with this past summer grew out of wanting to share the gazillion flowers I grow.  I contacted our town’s community garden and asked if they could think of some way to use these blossoms and blooms.  There are many Master Gardeners involved with the Community Garden, still none of us could foresee how many, many people this sharing effort would reach, and touch.

Each Thursday throughout the summer, two dedicated volunteers, Jane and Ted Metzler, came to my gardens and cut baskets and buckets of flowers.  Sometimes Jane’s sisters Pat and Pam joined in picking, and even crafting the mini-bouquets of those flowers.

Bouquets for Meals on Wheels

Jane Metzler with a box of mini-bouquets on their way to Meals on Wheels (Photo credit: Ted Metlzer)

Meals on Wheels

Jane and Pat Cheney finishing mini-bouquets for delivery to Meals on Wheels recipients. (Photo credit: Ted Metzler)

Mini-bouquets for Meals on Wheels

Those bouquets were distributed locally to Meals on Wheels recipients. I don’t have words big enough to tell you how much those bouquets meant to everyone. The volunteers delivering the meals were touched by the recipient’s obvious pleasure.  Over 500 of these mini-bouquets were distributed in 2012.

Jane shared some of the responses to the flowers…

“Best comment from a client was a letter filled with praise for the kindness, beautiful colors, the smells, and dreading the day when the frost would halt the project. The men and women who delivered the meals with the flowers got as much reward from the project as the recipients. Our client who sent the letter full of praise said “ps I do like the meat loaf that you sent too but the flowers are the best.”

Dried Flowers Extend Flower Philanthrophy Through Winter!

We do have long winters here in Maine, so we knew how much folks would miss the blooms. Hmmmm… I dry enormous numbers of flowers all summer…statice, strawflowers, astrantia, celosias, ageratums, and so much more. We had planned to fill miniature pumpkins with dried flowers for each table at the Community Garden’s annual Harvest Supper, but oh! what Jane and Ted did with the remaining dried blossoms!!

Armloads of dried flowers soon to become mini-bouquets to help. Meals on Wheels recipients through another Maine winter

Armloads of dried flowers soon to become mini-bouquets to help. Meals on Wheels recipients through another Maine winter  (Photo credit: Ted Metzler)

Flower Philanthropy, in this case, sharing the bounty of beauty, is an idea that could easily grow across the country.  I can’t imagine anyone better suited to this possibility than Master Gardeners, who are so generous in sharing their time, energy, expertise, experience, and love of all thing green and growing!

Do you participate in or know of ‘flower philanthropy’ type of opportunities near you?

Mary Webber
Master-Gardener-in-Training
Yarmouth, Maine
marywebb@maine.rr.com

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4 Responses to “Flower Philanthropy: Sharing a Bounty of Beauty”

  1. Nicki Griffin says:

    Mary, I love your gardens and I really like the idea of flower philanthropy – it did get me thinking of what more I can do to “share” my gardens besides inviting the neighborhood kids in for the “critter tour” – I think I will contact one of the local nursing homes and see if perhaps some of their residents might like to come have tea in my gardens from time to time.

  2. Mary says:

    What a lovely idea, Nicki! While being given flowers is wonderful, being invited to visit a garden is even more all-senses special!

  3. Maryellen says:

    Mary, What a beautiful story! Your simple act has brought so much pleasure to those lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your generosity and to Master Gardeners who continue find ways to benefit and beatify their communities. Priceless….as they say.

  4. Mary says:

    The very best part of this flower philanthropy is that anyone can do it, any town can pull it together! Everyone I know who grows flowers always has plenty to share; after all, the more you cut, the more that bloom. Even if it is as simple as people bringing mini-bouquets to the local Meals on Wheels site (with permission, of course!) to go out with the meals… Thanks for your comment, Maryellen!