Not only the lonely were given a heart warming bunch of happiness when Mangakahia Gardening Club came to Whangārei.
What could be more feel-good in the middle of winter than coming across a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a note saying ''please take me home''?
That was a gift given to dozens of people by members of the Mangakahia club yesterday, on Lonely Bouquet Day.
Lonely Bouquet Day is an international day that encourages people to leave bouquets of flowers in public places for others to find and take home. It's the fourth year club has brought the international day of the bouquet to Whangārei.
About 20 members set out trestle tables, flowers and foliage in Whangārei Library's soaring, sunny foyer and created nearly 100 bouquets which were then left on street seating and other public places around the CBD, or handed directly to surprised recipients.
Club co-convenor Catherine Davies-Colley said the event brought pleasure to everyone involved. The feedback from people who had found bouquets was heart-warming. Many who found a bouquet gave it to someone else so it often became a gift that delighted more than one person, she said.
Two who were given colourful flowers and couldn't have been happier were Arasteh Hancock and Sally Penwarden. They were enjoying coffee at a table outside the library when, out of the blue, they were presented with flowers.
''It was a lovely surprise, they are beautiful,'' said Hancock, who was going to give her bouquet to her mother.
But then, nothing says "smile" as much flowers, especially on a mid-winter's day.
Yesterday's sunshine was a bonus but in the past Lonely Bouquet Day has brightened even the most miserable winter's day, Davies-Colley said.
''Of course, it's an international event so in Europe it's flower season at this time of the year. We find it a bit harder to get as many as we need but we manage.''
Most of the flowers come from the club members' gardens but the event is generously supported by local commercial growers who provide sunflowers, orchids, lilies and more.
The cheery, busy pop-up florist shop in the library proved an attraction in itself. Many library visitors watched with interest as bins of blooms were turned into bouquets and sent on their goodwill-filled way.
Lonely Bouquet Day was started by an American florist who wanted to practice her skills and the idea has now taken off internationally.