Abersold plants

Lana Aebersold looks over two of the azalea plants that will be given out randomly to local residents this week. She said her business, Aebersold Florist, has already given out more than 100.

NEW ALBANY — These can be difficult times. People have been laid off, stores are closed and kids are out of school. We have all been told to stay at home as much as possible as COVID-19 spreads throughout the country.

It’s easy to get depressed.

But Aebersold Florist has figured out a way to turn that frown into a smile.

Beginning last week, the New Albany florist has been giving out azaleas to random homes. The plants are free, and are meant to brighten someone’s day as we all deal with this pandemic.

“It’s something to make people happy,” said Lana Aebersold, who along with her husband David own the longtime New Albany business. “They bloomed early and we can’t sell as many now so we decided to randomly give them out.”

She said 100 have been given away so far. The azalea plants sell for $35 at the shop.

Bob and Carol Ammerman of New Albany were recently surprised by a free azalea, and they were thrilled.

“We were one of the beneficiaries of their kindness. What a great way to share kindness and joy during this trying time for our nation,” the two wrote in an email. “We have enjoyed it for a day and now intend to pass it along to some others — to keep the joy spreading.”

Each plant comes with a note which reads: “Kindness can be the greatest gift you can give to a person. Especially when they are not expecting it. During this time of darkness, we hope to bring you a little light. Please enjoy this beautiful azalea on us. Love, Aebersold Florist.”

Lana Aebersold said she will continue to tell her delivery drivers to hand out the plants until they run out. She said they started with 1,000.

“I am so glad people are enjoying them. People call up crying ... they are appreciative,” she said. “They are so surprised and happy. You don’t realize how some people are so isolated and this is a way to brighten their day. I think they really appreciate it.”

The Ammermans definitely appreciated the act of kindness.

“It is folks like they and acts like this that are helping everyone make it through a difficult time,” they wrote in the email.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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