When I first started my picking garden many years ago it was simply for the joy of growing flowers. I loved growing them so that I could then pick them and give them to others. They went to my children’s friend’s mums after play dates, family when I went to visit, Birthday flowers with gifts for friends, for the primary school to sell at Calf Club to raise money – I just loved giving others the pleasure of flowers and using them as thank you flowers.
I never dreamt that I would have a florist store at that point but fast forward a few years and we started our own businesses with the opening of The Wild Rose happening just on 4 years ago.
This meant I had a “real” purpose for growing flowers and the pleasure they gave my florists to use and the special difference it made to our flower arrangements.
It also gave me a way to give back to the greater community in ways I couldn’t do before or wasn’t as aware of in those earlier days.
A couple of years before opening The Wild Rose I nursed my brother-in-law with pancreatic cancer for his last nine weeks of life. This was a huge learning curve and needless to say a very challenging experience and one that was supported every step of the way by Totara Hospice. I had often heard people say how amazing hospice was but had never had any reason to experience and indeed to then intimately understand what they did until that moment.
From that point on I have donated my time to them to help at their fundraising events whenever I can – Ladies Lunches, Sunrise Walk, Long Lunch, Golf Day, …
In addition to supporting Totara Hospice we then also support Franklin Hospice who together cover a large area of the community we have businesses in and ultimately they then support those in need within the communities who support us.
When we went into our first Level Four Lockdown for COVID we had no choice but to close The Wild Rose, having only been open for about six months. We couldn’t sell flowers and gifts as part of the rules, but there was still an emotional need for flowers and gift, so I continued to pick what I was growing and made little posies at Paddock to Pantry when time allowed and donated the proceeds from those to Totara Hospice. Thanks to those customers who bought them we donated almost $1,200.
Fast forward to our next Level Four Lockdown and The Wild Rose was closed again. My florists all came and worked at Paddock to Pantry and when time permitted we again made posies and this time donated $4,500 to Totara Hospice.
Outside of COVID times we have donated goods to both Hospices for fundraising purposes and helped with flowers for events.
A big one that took a huge amount of time and energy was having our own garden in the Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble – this event almost 3 years ago was such a relief for everyone after the first wave of lockdowns and around 1,200 people attended, the weather was stunning for the 2 days and after it we were exhausted. Our garden had never looked as immaculate as in that moment and certainly hasn’t since!!
Over the last four years since opening The Wild Rose we have supported many other groups who help others in our community and we also like to support those who inspire the youth in our community. Some of this support is in association with our other businesses – Celebration Box, The Meat Box, Hello & Cookie and Paddock to Pantry – so that we can do greater good together. Examples are supporting Life Education Counties Manukau, The Warriors Foundation, The South Auckland Christian Food Bank, Woven Earth, The Northern Stars and other initiatives that you can read about here.
As my garden grows and the number of flowers I produce in it expands, so does the ways in which we try to give back.
More recently we started working with GoGenerosity who offer a platform enabling customers to pay-it-forward when they are shopping with a business. 100% of this pay-it-forward goes to providing goods and services to those in need in the community and for The Wild Rose we have chosen to support both Totara Hospice and Franklin Hospice. They are both providing invaluable and free services across East Auckland, South Auckland and Franklin to those with life-limiting illnesses including cancer, heart, lung or kidney failure and neurological diseases.
I know the amazing work they do first hand and for so many of us we will have a loved one also needing their help and support one day, or indeed ourselves.
I’d like to thank those who have already donated as they placed their order for flowers or gifts and for those supporting our small business by ordering and see this opportunity to donate I hope this helps you understand why I have chosen to support Totara Hospice and Franklin Hospice – I know that they will be incredibly grateful for any support our community can offer.
“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”