Edinburgh florist leaves '˜lonely bouquets' across the city for strangers

IT was a simple act of kindness that touched the heart of a stressed mother as she chased her energetic two-year-old around the park.
Florist Anne McGinlay at her shop in Marchmont Road.Florist Anne McGinlay at her shop in Marchmont Road.
Florist Anne McGinlay at her shop in Marchmont Road.

When Arlene Fernandez took time out on Bruntsfield Links she assumed the bunch of flowers on the bench beside her had been left as a tribute to a loved one.

But when she read the label she discovered it was a “lonely bouquet” and was looking for someone to adopt it and take it home.

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The bouquet was one of dozens that has been left by a local florist as a random act of kindness to bring a splash of joy to a stranger’s life.

Ms Fernandez had spent the morning chasing after her son as he zig zagged across the Links.

Exasperated and trying not to lose her temper, she was pushed to the limit when her son made a dash for a busy road.

“I could feel the tears welling up so I sat down on the nearest park bench to try and pull myself together, and after a couple of minutes noticed a bunch of flowers at the other end of the seat, she said.

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“At first I thought it must be one left in remembrance and figured they were probably for whoever would be inscribed on the bench dedication plaque.

“There was clearly a large tag attached to it, so out of curiosity looked for the name and inscription.

“The tag explained that this was a ‘lonely bouquet’ and was looking for someone to adopt it and take it home.”

The flowers were made and placed by Marchmont florist Ann McGinlay.

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“If laying bouquets around the city can make a difference and bring a smile to other people then it’s a small sacrifice,” she said.

Working in floristry for 20 years, she opened her shop in Marchmont Road in October, but has been laying the bouquets for more than a year.

“Usually when I finish on a Saturday I will make up a bouquet and go and pop it somewhere – it’s random and could be anywhere.

“I use whatever is in season so the bouquets change throughout the year.

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“Sometimes I even give them to my friends to put further afield.

“Lots of people experience loneliness, even when surrounded by people so it made my day to find out that one small gesture had touched people’s hearts.”

Ms Fernandez shared her story and a thank you message on Facebook. The selfless act has reached people worldwide with global well wishes from as far as America and Australia.

Ms Fernandez said: “It was such a nice feeling to think that a stranger has gone to the trouble and expense of making a beautiful bunch of flowers and leaving them to be found by anyone, with the possibility of not knowing the outcome.

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“It was such a kind and selfless act, and for me it just really touched my heart to know that there are nice people in the world.

“To receive a gift of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers was enough to cheer me up anyway.”