Sunny, 11, and Olivia, 4, gave away flowers from their front yard protea tree on Mother's Day. Photos: MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Bunches of hope

May 21, 2020 BY

IF THE flowers on the Brogan family’s protea tree could talk, what words of wisdom would they share?

Belonging to one of the earliest groups of flowering plants, the protea symbolises diversity, change and above all, courage.

So when Jan Juc sisters Sunny, 11, and Olivia, 4, noticed the exotic leaves on their front yard climbing spot had begun to peel away from their centre, they suggested the blooms be gifted to their neighbours on Mother’s Day (May 10) to send a message of hope in what is an unsettling time.

“Every couple of years we get a good bloom off it for Mother’s Day,” said Shane Brogan, Sunny and Olivia’s father.

“I trim it all back and we usually put a sign out so the girls can sell them for $2 a bunch. They usually make 50 or 60 dollars so it’s just something for them to do and it’s nice to see the local people, but we hadn’t done it for a couple of years, so this year they just thought ‘Let’s give them away’.”

After deciding on the idea, Shane posted a photo of his daughters behind a trestle table that had been adorned with a handwritten sign which read “Happy Mother’s Day from us to you. One free bunch per family” on the Surf Coast Community Noticeboard.

By the time the post – which scored more than 900 likes last week – was approved, nearly all 14 bunches had been picked up by passers-by on Cantala Drive.

“Olivia loved it. It was pretty cold that morning, but she stayed out there the whole time and waited for people to come past and wouldn’t stop talking to them.

“She was saying ‘They came from our tree, this is our tree here, my dad cut down the other tree that I used to climb on’, and the people just loved it.

“Some tried to give money, and she said ‘No, they’re free’. But later on people dropped off some eggs and others left a gift for the girls in the letterbox with lollies. It’s good to see kids taking it upon themselves to make people smile.”

Torquay College pupil Sunny said seeing people’s faces light up was compensation enough for standing outside in the cold.

“We knew it would make people happy. It made me smile seeing them smile.”

The youngest of the Brogan clan, Olivia, “really liked” chatting to the “nice people” who stopped and said hello that Sunday morning, but said she wished she could return to the things she loved most.

“I hate all the bugs out there and not being able to go the playground or to kinder.

“I wish they would go away so I can see my friends again and go to the park.

“The people were really nice I spoke to and I showed them the tree the flowers came from.”