Maggie Boyd: A True Flower Child

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind. — Luther Burbank (1849-1926), American Botanist and horticulturist.

At Country House, a Wilmington nursing home, small vases of fragrant sweet peas, peonies, roses and other flowers dot the hallways, offices and rooms.

The flowers are donated by Margaret (Maggie) Boyd, 17, who collects flowers from weddings, proms, luncheons and other events that would otherwise be thrown away. She then arranges them in glass vases and gives them to local nursing homes.

Boyd started the practice three years ago. “My grandmother had recently stayed in a nursing home and I was able to identify with a community where the residents looked lonely and I could brighten their day with flowers,” says the Wilmington resident. “I like flowers because they’re pretty, they smell nice, and because they can relieve stress and provide positive energy in a room.”

Calling her endeavor Recycled Roses, she created business cards, launched the project on social media, advertised it to friends and family, and contacted local nursing homes and florists. She’s given away dozens of flowers since she launched the project at age 14. Back then, Boyd’s mother, MaryBeth, helped collect the flowers and deliver them until her daughter was old enough to drive.

In May, Boyd received a Governor’s Youth Volunteer Award for the impact she makes.

Honey Gorny, owner of Honeybunches Floral in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, says Recycled Roses not only benefits the people who receive the flowers, it also extends the life and use of the flowers.

“It’s hard to see them in the trash after working so hard to create beautiful things with them,” says Gorny. “Flowers remind us of the power beyond us. They’re amazing things of extraordinary beauty that live but a short time and should be cherished.”

Flowers can be expensive and a luxury for people who may not have the means to enjoy them in their living spaces, she adds.

Florists help Boyd by passing out her business card to clients. The clients then contact Boyd to let her know when she should come by to pick up the flowers and the vases—if they’re included in the donation.

The flowers are highly appreciated. A while ago, a woman whose mother was in a nursing home Boyd had donated flowers to emailed Boyd to tell her how happy her mother had been to wake up and find flowers on her nightstand. Another woman contacted Boyd to ask if Boyd could drop off flowers at Kutz Home in Wilmington where the woman’s father was staying.

Karen Bennett, activities director at Country House, says the flowers make an impact on both the residents and the staff. “The smells and the colors make the facility inviting,” she says. “The residents love to see the many varieties of flowers and they look forward to them.”

When the flowers wilt, Bennett washes the vases for Boyd to pick up to use for her next delivery. Impressed by Boyd’s work ethic and generous spirit, Bennett says, “She’s a very compassionate person who is mature beyond her years.”

From her own life experiences, the Ursuline Academy student knows that the sight and smells of flowers can bring joy, peace, and reminders of fond memories.

“My favorite flower is lavender because it reminds me of a trip that my mom, aunt, and I took to England,” she says. “We went to see Jane Austen’s house, and we were able to keep some lavender from her beautiful garden.”

For more information on Recycled Roses, go to Facebook or Instagram.

Adriana Camacho-Church
Adriana is a freelance journalist who has written for newspapers and magazines in California and Delaware. When not organizing programs for the Hispanic community for New Castle County Libraries she dances in the kitchen while cooking her favorite Latino dishes.

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