“Sharing with Flowers,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 71
Since 1940 Axel E. Ohrn has been brightening a Connecticut chapel with flower bouquets. The flowers are from his own garden, and he spends hours carefully arranging the sprays.
“I’ve just always loved to garden,” he says. “I do it for the members, not for praise.”
As a young adult, Brother Ohrn met and married Linnea Mattsson, a devout member of the Church. Both were emigrants from Sweden. Although not yet a member, Brother Ohrn willingly attended church with his wife and paid his tithing regularly.
In 1940 he and Linnea were meeting with a small branch of 25 to 30 members in Bridgeport, Connecticut. One Sunday morning while sitting in the branch’s bleak rented meeting room, Brother Ohrn felt a need to lift the spirits of the congregation. “I had so many beautiful flowers in my garden. I thought they would make the building more pleasant,” he says. The following Sunday he brought a large bouquet of flowers to church, the beginning of a tradition he has continued to this day.
In August 1940 Axel was baptized. Now, more than half a century later, Axel’s floral contributions brighten the hearts of three wards that share a building. He provides gorgeous sprays as often as his garden allows, and the hours of painstaking care show in the beauty and splendor of his arrangements. Axel and Linnea are members of the New Canaan Ward, Yorktown New York Stake.—Desireé L. Barlow, Layton, Utah