As part of the national movement, "Petal It Forward," the Secret Garden flower shop in Columbus gave 250 bunches of flowers to unsuspecting strangers Oct. 11. Above, Michelle Will from Columbus receives a mix of carnations, sun flowers, roses and daisies from Secret Garden owner Robin Salzwedel, right, and assistant designer Nicole Braund-Butler.

Kevin Damask, Columbus Journal

Secret Garden Floral decided to brighten up the residents of Columbus with a pleasant surprise Oct. 11.

The downtown flower shop participated in the “Petal It Forward” campaign, presenting 250 bunches of flowers to 125 people. One bouquet was for them and the other could be delivered to someone special. NBC 15 from Madison did a segment on the Secret Garden’s special deliveries Wednesday.

Robin Salzwedel, who has owned the floral shop for 11 years, said it was the first time her store has participated in “Petal It Forward.” The movement was started last October by the Society of American Florists, prompting florists across the country to randomly surprise people on the streets. More than 234 cities joined the cause, spreading joy across the country.

“With all the negative news going on in the world, I wanted to do something positive and joyful,” Salzwedel said. “Something to make people happy.”

The Columbus flower shop purchased all the bunches for the random giveaway. Several bunches were also delivered to local hospitals and nursing homes and officers from the Columbus Police Department also joined the cause.

Salzwedel said people were definitely surprised when they received the flowery gift and immediately thought they had to pay for it.

“They couldn’t believe it was free,” said assistant designer Nicole Braund-Butler. “At first people were hesitant to take them.”

Salzwedel said she definitely plans to join the “Petal It Foward” movement again next year.

“I think we’ll order more flowers next year,” she said. “We easily could have had more.”

Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask