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Special flower deliveries make spirits bright in the Portland area

An Oregon farm and greenhouse donated poinsettias to local assisted living facilities to bring a little holiday cheer to those who need it.

CORNELIUS, Ore. — There was work to be done in between the rain drops on Wednesday at New Leaf Greenhouse in Cornelius.

“This year we had to place our poinsettia order in January before we understood what COVID was going to mean,” said owner Ginger Steele.

After the blooms of summer, Steele has one last bit of color to add to the coming gray winter.

“There's something about this splash of red that just kind of says ‘Christmas’ and a lot of people don't have the means to decorate or get a tree, and so I hope they enjoy them.”

The crop yielded 10,000 poinsettias. Normally, Steele sells them to schools for fundraising but not this year. She did sell more than half of them but she couldn’t stand the thought of throwing out the rest.

“I love to see them change and become beautiful but I also like knowing that you know they're going to someone who's going to appreciate that,” she said.

So New Leaf is making donations to assisted living facilities around Portland.

“One of our goals is to grow things that will sort of remind them of grandma's garden, or the garden they had, you know, back in the day,” said Ann Munson. Ann owns 4th Quarter Farm. The name comes from, as Munson will smile and explain, is because she’s in the fourth quarter of her life. She started the farm two years ago after losing her husband to early-onset dementia. “After being his caregiver and seeing assisted living places, I realized that there was a big need.”

Year-round, 4th Quarter Farm delivers flowers to seniors in long-term care. 

Wednesday, it was poinsettias.

“Well, I'm smitten with the flowers,” Munson said. “For me, I live in paradise and I'm surrounded by flowers. But then I get to share them, and I think sharing is a lot of it.”

When it’s all said and done, Ginger will have donated 3,000 poinsettias. Knowing they will brighten someone’s day makes it a little easier to deal with the gray. The delivery truck made two trips today—a bittersweet day.

“This is my last year as a grower. I've sold my farm, I'm 73, I'm retiring, and it's great to go out on a high note,” said Steele.

Giving due to an abundance is great, but giving all you have is the true spirit of the season.

“It's like the littlest thing makes a big difference,” said Munson.

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