‘Say it with flowers’ — Woodland bulb farm donates thousands of flowers to hospitals

Holland America Flowers gives over 100,000 flowers away to hospitals and care facilities in Washington and California

WOODLAND — Benno Dobbe knows flowers. They are very nearly a language to him. That’s why he wanted to say ‘‘thank you’’ with flowers. More than 110,000 of them. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, many medical workers and hospital staff members are working in stressful environments. Benno and his family wanted to brighten the hospitals and the lives of these hard workers. 

Benno Dobbe (right) and his daughter Nicolette (left) are seen here loading flowers into a truck for delivery to local hospitals and care facilities. Photo by Mike Schultz
Benno Dobbe (right) and his daughter Nicolette (left) are seen here loading flowers into a truck for delivery to local hospitals and care facilities. Photo by Mike Schultz

As of now, Benno’s farm, Holland America Flowers in Woodland and his other farm in California have delivered flowers to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Legacy Salmon Creek, Woodland Public Schools food crews, PeaceHealth St. Johns, and many more. 

“There’s a lot of concerns in everyone’s life right now, and the ones taking care of those who are patients or might become patients, they are doing an unbelievable job,” Benno said. “I felt from my heart that with our business, we can provide flowers and put some smiles on the faces of those that are working lots of hours to keep people healthy as much as they can.”

Usually during the spring, Holland America would be bustling with people in the tulip fields for u-cut flowers and the April Tulip Festival. This year with social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, those gatherings have been canceled. Thankfully, the farm is still an essential business and can remain operating during the ‘’Stay Home’’ orders. 

Helpers unload thousands of flowers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center this week. Photo by Kristy Murray
Helpers unload thousands of flowers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center this week. Photo by Kristy Murray

Benno and his family decided to bless people by donating flowers to hospitals and other facilities helping combat the virus right now. In the Clark and Cowlitz County areas alone, they have given out 7,000 bouquets of flowers. 

“They have a saying in our industry that says, “Say it with flowers,’” he said. “We get a tremendous amount of smiles and ‘thank yous’ from the people that we gave flowers, so it’s a heartwarming feeling. We are just like everyone else, we are also in the same situation … The most important [thing] is a heartwarming feeling that we know that we put smiles on people’s faces and that they have a bright moment in a really tough time.”

Benno is a first generation immigrant from the Netherlands and has had a love of flowers and growing them since he was a boy. His son Ben and his family now help run his farm in California while he works at Holland America in Woodland with his daughter Nicolette.

The flowers Benno and his farms deliver will last for about a week in water, so he says he sees it as brightening people’s day and their week with something beautiful indoors. Benno recalls throughout his life putting smiles on people’s faces with flowers, even at funerals.

“I’m very thankful that I’m part of this industry and that we have made a difference in the United States with our flowers and that we still do, in particular now,” Benno said. “Studies have been done that flowers are really really good for your health. Keep that in mind. Flowers keep people in a good mood. People that are around flowers, they’re getting a positive mindset.” 

Inside PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, bouquets of flowers are passed out to staff after being donated by Holland America Flowers in Woodland. Photo by Kristy Murray
Inside PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, bouquets of flowers are passed out to staff after being donated by Holland America Flowers in Woodland. Photo by Kristy Murray

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center posted on their Facebook this week thanking Holland America for their donation:

“We’re so grateful for this wonderfully cheery gift! Each bouquet included a message that says, ‘We want to say thank you to all the caregivers at PeaceHealth for your tireless hard work during this crisis! You are the heroes and we want to share some happiness and love for all your efforts!’”

Beacon Hill Rehabilitation in Longview also received flowers this week, and so did Woodland school crews who deliver meals to students on free and reduced lunch during the school closures. 

“Actually it has been overwhelming to see the reaction because you don’t know if you do it, what the reaction will be,” Benno said. “It’s kind of nice that our family can make a difference in people’s lives under these very tough circumstances.”

Purple tulips growing at Holland America Flowers in Woodland. Photo by Mike Schultz
Purple tulips growing at Holland America Flowers in Woodland. Photo by Mike Schultz

Holland America was established in the early 1980s and was previously known as Holland America Bulb Farms. To order flowers or ask a question, you can reach out to Holland America Flowers over Facebook or by calling (805) 343-4004.

About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied journalism and media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and abroad in Argentina. His passions range from sharing the love of Jesus, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA. Proverbs 16:3

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