When Dayna Connolly saw flowers lying on a Whangarei bench she thought someone may have left them behind.
She was right.
But the bouquet didn't belong to any particular person, they were left behind by members of the Mangakahia Gardening Club yesterday to mark Lonely Bouquet Day - an international day which encourages people to leave bouquets of flowers in public places for others to find and take home.
It is the second year the gardening club has celebrated the day in Whangarei with bouquets.
"The response last year was overwhelming. Everyone thought it was a good idea to cheer up in the middle of winter," said club member Catherine Davis-Colley.
Last year the club made 35 bouquets, this year they had enough flowers to make up to 50.
As you walked in to the Whangarei Central Library there was a table filled with roses, irises, alstroemerias, jonquils, chrysanthemums and other blooms ready to become bouquets. Some were bought but most were grown by the members.
Dayna Connolly was one of the lucky punters who found a bouquet sitting on the bench outside the library. She said she was already having a pretty good morning but the flowers had "topped it up".
"I think it's a great idea, I'm a bit watery eyed. I went up and I saw a card there and I thought 'What's that all about?' I thought maybe someone left them behind. It said 'Please take me home' and that's probably the most sweetest thing ever."
The cards attached to the bouquets also encouraged people to share comments and pictures with the Mangakahia Gardening Club so members could find out where the flowers had ended up.
Amy Moretto was sitting outside Forum North with her children, Daniel and Noah, when she was handed a bouquet of flowers. "It's a really nice idea," she said.
Some flowers were left on benches and outside shops while others were handed directly to people in the street.
As the Northern Advocate walked through Whangarei CBD at least three more people were spotted holding bouquets, all with big smiles on their face.
Davis-Colley said the club decided to do Lonely Bouquet Day because it wanted to attract community spirit.
"It was a good way to create social interaction in the club. You feel good because you're doing something that makes people feel good," she said.