April 12, 2021

Are Cut Flowers a Guilty Pleasure or do they Contribute to our Wellbeing?

By Dahlia Bloom
Are Cut Flowers a Guilty Pleasure or do they Contribute to our Wellbeing?

There is a reason why flower gardening is growing in popularity — it’s a way to connect with nature, increase your muscle strength, improve your mental health, and, at this particular moment in time, feel a little bit freer.

The rise of automation.

Like many of us, bombarded with exchanges through chatbots, automated ads, and AI powered voice recognition, our lives have become rather sanitized. Our days have also changed drastically due to COVID-19 restrictions, leaving us unsure of when normal life will return.

At home during lockdown, many of us have taken on new creative skills, attempting to bring a sense of beauty, purpose, and passion to our otherwise, out of control environment. We are finding what feels like an abundance of time on our hands, and a desire to spend as much of it as possible outside.

So, in the summer months, we are doing something similar to what happened almost a century ago. Victory gardens, also called war or food gardens, were encouraged by governments to provide a reliable food source and boost morale.

Springtime 2021 is a renewal once again: time for us all to dust off our garden tools, turn over our raised beds, and reward ourselves with the beauty of our blooms grown.

  
Image above inspired by Victorian Colour Palette as an interpretation of Victory Garden Arrangement by Modern Flowers Ltd.

Flower Farmers and Farmer Florists: What a lovely industry it is!

While many of us are dabbling in the art of flower gardening, the industry of flower farming is alive and prospering. And what a lovely industry it is. From the rows of dahlia tubers, to tall glowing heads of sunflowers, to the sweet fragrance of lavender fields and sweetpea acreages, this industry offers us so much. We have given so much to our businesses, our careers, and now our digital automations, that the flower industry offers an escape from stress that few of us can deny. It helps clear our minds and reminds us of the importance of natural beauty.

Many of us share this same idea: the flower world is booming, as people around the world look to rethink about a real, physical connection to the world.

Related:  5 Handy Gardening Apps to enhance your Green Thumb

So should our enjoyment of a cut flower arrangement be considered an indulgence?  Does it actually contribute to our mental health and happiness?  Should we indulge in our love of flowers (gardening and floristry) as a preventative measure in our overall sense of wellbeing? 

 

Image above inspired by Victorian Colour Palette as an interpretation of Victory Garden Arrangement by Modern Flowers Ltd. 

Flowers Connect Nature, Happiness and Beauty.

No matter how you’re interacting with flowers, the physical and mental benefits are real: It helps decrease your anxiety, fear, sadness and social isolation. Dr. Nancy Etcoff, cognitive researcher studying the science of happiness and beauty, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, finds that Americans are between 6.5-7 on a 10-point scale of global happiness. In her interview with Radio Boston (Oct 6, 2015), she states; “We are found to be generally unhappy, not at the top of the happiness scale. But people want to pursue happiness. Particularly in this country, people always want to be happier.”

Time Magazine reported in September 4, 2020, that a study published in JAMA Network Open estimated how severe the COVID-19 pandemic would be, stating three times as many Americans met depression diagnostic criteria than prior to it. The article goes on to say that almost 28% of the 1,500 American adults surveyed, showed strong signs of depression.

Back to Dr. Nancy Etcoff, her studies are connecting nature with happiness; “There is more and more evidence about the effects of nature on happiness. It’s a way of restoring our attention, sort of resetting our equilibrium, our physiology. I did a small study on flowers – it was a mood study. They didn’t know this was part of the study, but they filled out mood questionnaires for a week, we said, ‘thank you so much, in another week we’re going to give you a little gift.’ We either gave them flowers or something else. Those who got flowers enjoyed them, looked at them in the morning, started to respond with more positive affect. And so people are now using flowers in hospitals as ways to speed recovery.”

So let’s make each other a promise. Let’s hold onto these thoughts when things go back to normal, whatever normal is going to be. If we can take anything out of this past year of frustration, sickness, a whole bunch of other negative things too dark to voice, it should be to treasure how good it feels to garden and to work with flowers.  Let’s keep asking ourselves: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? and continue together to learn about, follow, and indulge in this lovely industry.

Up Next: Let’s all agree about Flower Foam

 

For more information on this lovely industry, consider joining the MOD-FRS CLUB.

 

About the Author:

Dahlia Bloom is a flower farmer florist who has worked in the creativity industry in Canada for over 25 years. She has her Masters Degree, and has led studios on design issues, critical thinking, colour, composition, and creative strategy for several academic institutions. She is currently completing her Master Gardener certification program with the Calgary Horticultural Society, is a Floret Workshop 2021 Alumni, and is following her passion in floristry, flower farming and social connection through flowers. Bloom's Blog covers different aspects of flower arranging education, creativity and industry trends.