When Jenn Goonan was a little girl, she remembers her grandfather growing sunflowers that, to her small size, seemed to stretch to the sky.
One of her first words was “flowie,” she said, and an innate love of gardening, nature and blooms has stayed with her through marriage, kids and a career in public relations.
“There is just something about growing your own flowers, seeing it go from a tiny seed into this beautiful bloom,” she said.
In her Massachusetts backyard, Goonan has spent the last several springs and summers planting a variety of flowers, perfecting her gardening and sharpening her arranging skills to make colorful bouquets. And she’s gotten good at it.
“This summer I had an abundance of flowers, way too many for just myself, friends and family, and I thought, ‘Maybe this is a new way to give back,’ ” she said.
So, she packed up her car with extra bouquets in milk bottles and small coper vases and headed to Seasons Hospice down the street. There, she left small bunches of flowers in patient rooms. The next time she had leftovers, she took flowers to Winter Valley residences, a senior community in town, where they decorated dining tables and other common spaces.
From there, a brand was born.
Through Cheers to Flowers, Goonan sells bouquets online for holidays and other special occasions. For every vase of flowers sold, one is donated to a senior.
“This is my passion business and my own little way of giving back to my community,” she said. “It’s been really lovely. People have sent send me really nice notes about how it has brightened their days.”
In the summer months, bouquets are made with flowers Goonan grows herself in Milton. She planted 1,000 tulip bulbs this winter. For other holiday sales, like around Thanksgiving and Christmas, she uses blooms from the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea.
No matter the source of her flowers and greenery, she said she puts time and thought into each arrangement.
“I don’t want to be like a grocery store. I want to put together these really special flowers with various textures and movements,” Goonan said. “Some are small blooms, some are large, some leaves are flat and smooth and others are wild. That’s what I gravitate toward, things you could find in nature mature.”
Goonan doesn’t have flowers for sale all of the time – she still works full time in marketing and public relations – but instead releases around special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mothers Day. In the six months her business was open last year, she sold 200 arrangements and gave away as many. This year, she hopes to double that.
“Just working with the flowers relaxes me and it’s an amazing creative outlet,” she said. “If you really love something, you’ll find the time for it. If you really manage your time and really love something, it can happen.”
To see more of Goonan’s flowers and find out about sales, follow her on Instagram @cheers_to_flowers.
Photos in this post were taken by the wonderfully talented Greg Derr. They were originally published in The Patriot Ledger.