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Most people throw away tons of flowers after their wedding. She puts them back to work.

Why let good flowers go to waste? She made it her mission to recycle discarded wedding flowers, and the result is beautiful.

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Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

Shawn Chamberlain was tending the gardens at a hospice care facility one day when she noticed something unusual about one of the patients.

The woman, standing on a nearby patio, caught her off guard. Most of the patients Shawn had seen at the facility were older; hospice care is typically for those who are given six months or less to live, after all.

But this patient was young — a young mother.


A young mother herself, Shawn felt compelled to do something for the woman. Looking down and seeing the flowers in the garden, she quickly clipped a few and had a charge nurse deliver them to the patient.

Gathering up some love. Image via Rogue Heart Media.

In addition to being beautiful, flowers may actually lift people's moods.

According to a 2005 research study at Rutgers University, every single person who received flowers as part of an experiment had a positive response. Every. Single. Person.

Admit it: Flowers make you feel loved, special, adored, and remembered. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

As a landscape designer, Shawn had seen the power of flowers to bring people delight. In that moment, she knew she wanted to bring flowery happiness to other people. But not just anyone: long-term care patients, people who could really use a few moments of unexpected joy.

There was only one problem — where on Earth could she obtain a massive amount of flowers without going completely broke in the process?

If you've ever had to buy flowers for any event, you know they're, uh, not cheap. Shawn was a young mom of five kids — not a millionaire by any stretch.

But then it came to her: weddings.

Wedding flowers — gorgeous, expensive, and only used for one day. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Weddings are a treasure trove of floral arrangements, bouquets, and other lovely things ... that often go straight in the trash once the event is over.

Shawn started making calls around town to wedding planners, event spaces, florists, anyone who dealt in bulk flowers. Amazingly, there was no hesitation; people were on board. The Full Bloom was born.

Flowers. Flowers everywhere! Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Brides and grooms really took to the idea, thrilled that they could use their time of joy and happiness to give back. (All without a lot of effort because, as we know, weddings are super stressful!)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something recycled! Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Another cool thing? Through postings to The Full Bloom's Facebook page, donors can be connected with the receivers.

As Shawn put it, "They can see their flowers (through posting) actually go somewhere."

Brides, grooms, and other donors get to see how their contribution has brightened someone's day. And patients know someone was thinking of them and that, for a moment, they're feeling a little better because, you know, science.

Volunteers of all ages get involved and deliver arrangements to long-term care facilities. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

To find out more about The Full Bloom and recycling the love, check out this video from Rogue Heart Media.

[vimeo_embed https://player.vimeo.com/video/76064995?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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