Greenhouse donates surplus plants

Clarissa Kell | Daily Press Mother and son, Caroline and Nate Picard of Tony’s Green Thumb in Bark River, sort through plants at the St. Vincent de Paul warehouse in Escanaba. Tony’s Green Thumb donated all of the flowers, herbs and vegetables left over from its season to be given away for free at the warehouse. The greenhouse has donated plants for the last four years. However, this year Nate organized an event called “Planting For A Reason” where it was encouraged for people to stop by and bring plants to someone else.

ESCANABA — A local greenhouse has donated its leftover plants after its season concludes for the past four years. This year, the family-owned business donated the flowers again — but this time asked people to spread the joy by planting the flowers, herbs or vegetables for someone else to enjoy.

Tony’s Green Thumb of Bark River closed for the season Sunday, June 30. That Monday, the greenhouse donated three truckloads of plants, ranging from tomato plants to black-eyed Susans, to St. Vincent de Paul in Escanaba.

From noon Monday until the plants were gone, people stopped by at the St. Vincent de Paul warehouse and picked up plants. The plants were free and the only thing asked was for the community to bring or plant a plant for someone else.

Caroline Picard, one of the co-owners of Tony’s Green Thumb, said the event called “Planting For A Reason” was coordinated by her son because she wanted to instill in him giving back and to learn how easy it is to impact a community.

“So we feel we are in an opportunity to help the community, we’ve always donated to St. Vincent de Paul, but we came across the idea of Planting For A Reason to try to encourage people to give back,” she said.

The notion behind the event is that a simple act of kindness starts with one person and one plant.

“Flowers really do make people happy and watching things grow, even vegetables and be able to have their own produce,” Caroline said.

People from all over, not just Escanaba, stopped by and picked up plants for themselves or for others.

Cindy Bedard, the warehouse manager and recycle manager at St. Vincent de Paul, said there were people from Cooks that stopped by to pick up plants to plant in their neighbor’s yard. A woman from a local nursing home also came to pick up plants for the residents to enjoy at the home.

“I’m very grateful to Tony’s Green Thumb. They’ve inspire me and inspire the whole community — and the surrounding area too,” she said.

Nate Picard, Caroline’s 17-year-old son, said it was great to see people helping others instead of the plants being discarded.

Both Caroline and Nate said the hope is to make Planting For A Reason an annual event and expand it to include more communities, as well.

Any leftover plants at St. Vincent de Paul warehouse were brought to the soup kitchen.

Bedard said Tony’s Green Thumb provided a wonderful gift to the community by putting smiles on faces and warming hearts with the initial kind act of donating the flowers.