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Oct. 16, 2021 | Saturday
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NOTL Horticultural Society brightens retirement homes with Flowers for Seniors
Janet Lummiss and Susan Barker, members of the NOTL Horticulture Society, arranging flowers delivered to local retirement homes on March 15. (Brittany Carter/NiagaraNow)

Ushering in the spring, the NOTL Horticultural Society spent Friday afternoon arranging flowers for donation to local retirement homes.

On the closest weekend to spring, this year on March 15, about 30 volunteers from the group met to put together assortments of flowers for the residents of Chartwell, Upper Canada Lodge and Pleasant Manor retirement communities. By the time the volunteers finished, they had assembled about 250 arrangements.

The group met at the Mary Snyder room in the arena at 10 a.m., armed with good spirits and green thumbs.

Marla Percy, past-president of the society, said the afternoon went without a hitch.

“I think it went pretty well. We had people who hadn’t done it before, but we got everything sent off by 12 o’clock and we were all finished.”

She said the group has been creating and donating the flower arrangements for seniors for at least 30 years, though she said she couldn’t recall exactly when the initiative started.

“We’ve asked some of the older members, no one can remember exactly when it started. It’s been at least 30 years, it may have gone on a little longer.”

She said in the early days of the horticultural society, the group had more of a focus on flower decoration.

“We’ve gotten away from that. There’s a garden club in Niagara for people who want to do just flower arrangements, ours is much more general now.”

Percy said Flowers for Seniors is a nice initiative for the beginning of spring. Looking forward to it now, she said some of the residents eagerly anticipate the arrival of the flowers.

The NOTL Horticultural Society pays for the arrangements and supplies. Percy said the flowers come from Van Noort Florists, who give them a discount on the order.

Sharon Van Noort, owner of Van Noort Florists, said the NOTL Horticultural Society does a lot for the community, and this is her way of giving back.

“One of our long-time residents in Niagara recommended that (the society) come and see us. They reached out to us and asked if we would be able to source their flowers.”

She said networking together, it’s a great program for the community.

“We offer it to them because they are such a great group and it is such a nice thing that they do for the seniors.”

Flowers for Seniors is just one of the community programs the society organizes. Percy said the group has donated money to the local schools for different horticulture initiatives

“Crossroads – one year we gave them money for planting trees. This year we’ve been going around and giving them starter kits for different kinds of plants.”

She said Flowers for Seniors is something the group looks forward to being a part of and will continue, adding that it’s a great way to brighten up the resident’s spaces coming into spring.

Cyndi Gardner, programs and support services manager for Chartwell Niagara said there was nothing but gratitude from the residents. 

“One said it feels like spring, another one said they really appreciate that someone is thinking about them.”

She said, asking around, the residents were all very happy with the gift of flowers. “Another one said that it is so nice to have something to brighten their room. A family comment was that it was so thoughtful for (the horticulture society) to think of the residents. They couldn’t believe that there was one for everyone.”

“Each individual one (flower pot) isn’t spectacular but they’re each very much appreciated by the people who receive them.”