“Growing Kindness” is underway!

Growing Kindness bouquet # 5

The first five bouquets have been delivered this week for the “Growing Kindness Project.” Two went to ladies at nursing homes, one went to a couple in assisted living who just lost their beloved dog, one went to a shut-in who can no longer visit the daffodils she loved in her woods, and one went to stressed workers who are inundated with tax deadlines.

I’ve already learned a lot about this project. First of all, growing flowers is the easy part! Arranging the beautiful blooms is the fun part. Delivery is the time-consuming part, for many reasons but mostly because the recipients are lonely and want to talk so it’s hard to make it a quick stop. I can see this being a real problem as the number of bouquets increases to 20 or 30 a week, so that’s something I will have to seek help with. This batch were delivered on a dreary, cold, rainy day that wouldn’t have been good for gardening anyway, but I recognize that I will be extremely tempted to postpone having to get cleaned up and deliver on a beautiful sunny day! Delivery is also forcing me to be more “social” than is my nature, and while that’s probably a good thing, I’d really, really rather be in my gardens growing more flowers. But, seeing their smiles is the rewarding part. I’m sure they like the flowers, but realizing that someone cares is what really makes the difference.

The bouquets are mainly daffodils at this point, 20 stems of mixed colors and shapes. Several of the daffodils grown have had their stems folded by the unusually strong winds we’ve had lately. I assume this is going to be a continuing problem in the future, so I won’t be planting any more of the fancy very, very double forms that are more likely to flop and be ruined. The singles and split cup ones are standing up the best. The daffodils are picked at goose-neck stage for the single forms, and slightly more open for the split-cup ones and put immediately into cool water with a couple of drops of bleach added. They sit in the cool garage overnight to condition and seal the ends so they won’t “poison” the tulips. Later on it will have to be the basement as the garage temperature rises.

Some of the bouquets had the very first of the tulips, which are the “Exotic Emperor” variety you can see in the photo above. They are creamy white with some green streaking and a soft yellow center, with very strong, long stems. I’ll be growing LOTS more of them next year because they are performing wonderfully in the Front Garden and Front Island (where I am NOT cutting them!) and were the first to bloom in the Cutting Garden. I put 5 in with the 20 daffys and that seemed just right. The tulips are picked just after they have cracked open and are showing some color. They go into cool water with a bit of flower food added and are conditioned overnight in a cool, dark place as well. Treated this way, both the daffodils and tulips should last 6-9 days, although the warmer temperatures in the nursing homes may cause them to fade faster.

Friends have been generous with providing recycled jars (taller jelly, pickle and olive jars, pint canning jars) and plastic water or soda bottles which I cut the top 2-3″ off. I have dozens and dozens of rolls of ribbon left from having the shop, so adding a bow is no problem.

“Growing Kindness” project.org provides sample tags on their website that one can copy and use, but I’ve already forgotten my password, so I handwrote some tags that read “grown with love in Blackford County for the ‘Growing Kindness Project.’ Hope these brighten your day.”

It’s definitely already been a learning experience. I’m learning more about my community, more about flowers, meeting some wonderful people, and even learning more about myself! We’ll see how I feel about it all after bouquet # 500 has been delivered!!!

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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7 Responses to “Growing Kindness” is underway!

  1. bcparkison says:

    Wonderful…Like I said the other day..I have “signed up ” for this ..not sure why .because I really don’t have a cutting garden just yet. It sounded like a project I could enjoy but it may be awhile down the road before it goes into effect. I am pretty much aloner too but need to get out more…..Keep up the great gardening that you are so good at.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      I don’t think one needs a dedicated cutting garden to be a part of the project. You just need to grow flowers…and be willing to cut them to share! I still find it VERY hard to cut flowers from my gardens, but harvesting the flowers from the daffodil row hidden behind the blackberry row was pretty painless. Best of luck!

      Like

  2. 1972italy says:

    That is genius! You are so kind and generous to do this for them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Su says:

    That’s a wonderful thing to do! If I lived closer, I would volunteer to deliver for you. I wondered what you were going to do about vases, and you seem to have a good solution to that question.
    The flowers look great, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      So, I wish you did live closer!!! Interestingly, the nursing homes have said I can bring flowers just in bunches, as they have dozens of vases already, so that will really reduce the number I thought I was going to need.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Going Batty in Wales says:

    This is such a lovely project – you are a very generous soul. I can see that the delivery could become time consuming as by definition you are giving to people who are unlikely to get a lot of vistors with flowers. I hope you manage to recruit some helpful elves to that part for you leaving you to do the growing. If I lived nearer I would offer to help!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jorjagrael says:

    Just seeing your beautiful flowers brightened my day! This is such a wonderful thing to do! If (when) I get my cutting garden going, I may have to look into this!

    Liked by 2 people

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