Janet Hommel Mangas: A flowerful time

My Chiropractor planted several rows of color-popping zinnia, celosia, sunflowers and blue bachelor buttons amongst other varieties earlier this spring. They have bloomed and lit up the field like a box of crayons.

So, my younger sister, Jerri, and I volunteered to gather a myriad of vases and cut buckets of flowers to entertain about 20-plus women (and their nurses and attending staff that day) with a flower arranging “make it and take it” afternoon.

My daughter, Dr. Chloe, helped cut zinnias in every color and a variety of gomphrena from the field a few hours before “flower arranging show time,” as her 18-month-old John took a quick nap nearby.

When we arrived at the retirement and memory care community and carried in our buckets of flowers and hosta for greenery, the smiles at the colors began to appear. Some ladies jumped in without a question, some asked for help. But it was a blessing of using all the learning styles — kinesthetic, visual and auditory.

Some began choosing their favorite color of flower. Some began by asking “what do I do first?” to which we replied with a smile and said, “Pick one of these vases.”

Each flower arrangement was unique and beautiful.

Probably one of the most humorous moments was when we noticed one resident began giving advice and helping others with their arrangements. Her son told us that she had been a professional florist, and it was obvious. Her arrangements had different textures, and complimentary colors, with varied heights. I noticed before cutting every flower stem she would place it into the vase or container so she knew exactly where the flower would be and how it would look in her design.

When one nurse attendant, Marsha, walked through and asked if we would make her an arrangement, we agreed and I asked her to pick three favorite flowers to help us start. She chose sunflowers and then had to get back to work in another area of the building. When I asked our resident flower arranging expert if she’d like to finish Marsha’s arrangement, she agreed.

When I placed the vase and three flowers that Marsha had chosen in front of our expert arranger, she looked at the sunflowers, scrunched her eyebrows together in thought then looked up at me and said, “Did these flowers go into this arrangement?”

I cheerfully answered, “Yes, Marsha told us last week that she loves sunflowers, so we made sure to bring some in for her and anyone that would like some.”

Dryly, she replied, “Well, that’s disappointing.”

She explained she hates working with sunflowers. But she made a gorgeous arrangement anyway.

And she made a room explode in smiles and laughter.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected].