Sprouting up in the most unsuspecting of places, lonely bouquets are spreading like wildflowers to all parts of the globe. The concept is simple yet genius. Florists are ‘abandoning’ these blossoming masterpieces attached with tags like ‘Adopt me, please! I’m a ‘lonely bouquet’ looking for a new home. Perhaps I can live with you or a loved one?’. The aim? To make a stranger’s day.
Some painting urban jungles with colour, others more camouflaged with their sylvan surrounds, these lonely bouquets are scooped up from an array of locations, ranging from park benches and hospital steps, to remote hiking spots, libraries, cash machines, train stations and anywhere else in-between.
The seed was first planted by a Belgium-based American farmer-florist named Emily Avenson from Fleuropean (who also happens to be an avid blogger and plant-dyed silk ribbon maker with a penchant for self-sown organically grown flowers).
In a matter of moments, flower power prevailed and her selfless act snowballed into a global initiative with its very own (inter)National Lonely Bouquet Day. There is even a website, Lonely Bouquet, for people to discover where the flowers end up.
Although sightings have been documented all over — the UK, Belgium, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, Russia, Hong Kong, Mexico, North America and Finland, to name but some — the real showstopper is the array of personal stories that arise from the surprised souls who find these lonely bouquets.
Such serendipitous instances include one woman battling breast cancer who locked eyes with a pink lonely bouquet and a man who, on his 36th wedding anniversary, came across a posy of 36 flowers.
Edinburgh florist Ann McGinlay, who began leaving lonely bouquets around the Scottish capital in 2016, once received a thank-you message from someone who had fallen down steps, only to be met with a lonely bouquet handed to her by the group of students who helped her get back on her feet. The same lonely bouquet that just made their day. ‘There’s no agenda. I want to make people smile and that’s what flowers do’.