About 1,000 spring flowers, some of which were meant to line the route of the 2020 Boston Marathon, were arranged into a large heart shape outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and given to health care workers Friday morning as they concluded long shifts at the hospital.
Hydrangeas, tulips, pansies, and daffodils were used to create the heart outside Beth Israel by workers from Cityscapes, the Boston-based floral company behind the gesture. Cityscapes owner Jan Goodman came up with the idea to support health care workers in the way she knows best — with flowers.
“All morning I was teary eyed. It was amazing," said Goodman. "The [health care workers] kept thanking me, but they’re the ones who deserve the thanks. It’s overwhelming to think about what they do each day.”
Marsha Maurer, senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Beth Israel, said the hospital was grateful for the contribution.
“These flowers were so appreciated by our staff, bringing a sense of hope and recognition that they are supported by the community," Maurer said.
Many of the daffodils used in the heart were supposed to line the route of the Boston Marathon on April 20. The group, Marathon Daffodils, has placed about 100,000 daffodils along the race’s route every year since the fall of 2013, following the Boston Marathon bombings in April of that year, which left three dead and more than 260 injured.
This year’s marathon was postponed to Sept. 14 due to the spread of COVID-19. Diane Valle, the group’s president, said images of marathon daffodils will be sent to the group’s donors and supporters to print out and hang in their windows.
Marathon Daffodils also plans to donate flowers to other local hospitals in the coming week, she said.
Valle said whatever daffodils are left over from these efforts will be planted in the fall along the race route so they will come up for the 2021 Boston Marathon.
“We want to help everyone remember how resilient Boston is and that we’ll get through this together,” Valle said.
Goodman said many flower orders for events and businesses have been canceled, leaving Cityscapes and other florists with large stocks of spring flowers that won’t be used anytime soon.
“It breaks my heart to throw any plant out," Goodman said. "This way we can use them with that Boston Strong mentality.”
Berry’s Greenhouses Inc. in Medway and Trillium Floral in Ontario, Canada donated flowers for Cityscapes to give to the health care workers. Cityscapes workers sanitized each flower pot before setting them down outside Beth Israel Friday and only one employee was allowed inside the flower trucks at a time, Goodman said.
A song called “Give A Little Plant,” set to the tune of Supertramp’s 1977 hit “Give A Little Bit,” played from a Cityscapes truck as the health care workers exited the hospital and took their flowers.
Goodman hopes to give thousands more flowers to workers at other local hospitals, first responders, and others who are on the front lines of the pandemic. She will be bring flowers to Tufts Medical Center next week and to several homeless shelters and health organizations this weekend.
Goodman started “#givealittleplant” to encourage people across the country to join her in this mission.
“I don’t want people to wallow in how bad this is," Goodman said. “I want them to think about what they can do to make a difference.”