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What started as a plan between a great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter has blossomed into a family project for one Mount Ayr fifth-grade girl.
Tatum Friedrich, daughter of Eric and Melissa Friedrich and granddaughter of Malcolm and Ginny Eighmy, all of Mount Ayr, began raising flowers in her backyard about five years ago. Tatum and her great-grandmother Peggy Skarda shared a special love of flowers, and last winter they discussed a plan to harvest the flowers, gather them in arrangements, and deliver them to residents at local nursing homes. Unfortunately, Peggy passed away in February before she had a chance to see their plan come together.
Much like a perennial flower, however, the plan did not lie dormant as spring approached.
With the help of her parents and grandparents and her sister Alba, Tatum was determined to plant a huge garden filled with hundreds of colorful flowers.
“I did it in memory of her [Peggy] because she liked flowers,” Tatum said.
Her entire family, including her other grandmother Vicki Friedrich, got into the spirit and helped Tatum choose, plant and maintain her flower garden. “Grandpa Mac,” otherwise known as Malcolm, promised Tatum that he would match whatever money she could earn by collecting cans to help pay for more seeds and plants.
This summer, as the flowers became ready to harvest, the family pitched in to create an assembly line to make nearly 25 flower arrangements which were recently delivered to residents at the Clearview Home.
“I feel happy just bringing joy to their day,” Tatum said.
With school fast approaching, Tatum said she isn’t sure she will have time to create another round of arrangements. She has, however, been asked to create a special bouquet for an individual who has family coming to town. Plus, last week the Friedrich kids held a lemonade stand where some of Tatum’s arrangements were on sale to raise money for next year’s flowers.
Tatum has a special T-shirt that reads, “Grow like a wildflower.” With the inspiration from her great-grandmother and the support of her family, Tatum’s “bouquets of joy” will likely continue to grow season after season.