I must have flowers, always, and always. –Claude Monet
As I write this, I’m smiling at the fact that this is probably the only non-botanical lifestyle site out there that would publish articles like this. (And I approve because am self-boss, so hooray!). But there are few more quintessentially Peaceful Dumpling things than a flower-filled life, right?
Most of us who are not Lord Voldemort love seeing flowers or even better, receiving them. It turns out that the wellness effect of flowers can even be scientifically proven. In a 2005 study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, women who received flowers reported positive mood immediately and even 3 days later (!). For both men and women, flowers have both short-term and long-term effects on positive mood, emotional reactions, social behavior, and even memory.
In another study, both men and women who received flowers connected better socially than those who did not. (Really fun reading a scientific study that was measured in “genuine smiles” and “standing in close proximity.”) I totally did not know this when I got my boyfriend flowers for his birthday. And while that bouquet probably did more for me than for him, flowers have brought us closer together on so many occasions. Whether you’re dealing with a romantic interest/platonic friend, man/woman, if you’re hesitating about getting flowers–please just do. Email me if it doesn’t work because it for sure will.
So why do we all love flowers so much? The researchers suggest that flowering plants have evolved to induce positive emotions in humans, in order to ensure their cultivation and survival. Fascinating–also, smart plants!
Ready to improve your mood, think better, get closer to your partner (or win over a crush), and generally feel like life is a bed of roses? Here are some creative ways to have more flowers in your life.
1. Go to a botanical garden.
For a flower-drenched experience, how about spending an afternoon at your local botanic garden? For my birthday, my friend and PD editor Jen took me to Brooklyn Botanic Garden–and it was such a mental tonic to see all the flowers in bloom, native flowers, Shakespearean garden, etc. You can learn names of flowers you read in books but never actually saw, smell unusual rose varieties, or just walk around and take it all in. Similar options are rose or orchid test gardens, or a large park.
2. Drink floral tea.
There are so many wonderful floral teas to choose from: as I type, I’m sipping on chrysanthemum tea, which “blossoms” as it steeps. It adds a touch of Zen to your day, watching the flower bloom with delight, instead of looking at your tea like, ‘hurry up and steep so I can drink you.’ Chrysanthemum tea is also beneficial: used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, studies have now shown that it reduces inflammation and calms anxieties.
Other lovely floral teas to try include: jasmine (cardiovascular and immune health), lavender (sedative/digestive issues), hibiscus (colds/digestive issues), rose, orange blossom, and of course chamomile (relaxing/sedative).
3. Add edible flowers to your dishes.
Make an unforgettable salad (salads can be like that, right?) topped with delicate pansies. Garnish your entrees with an orchid blossom. Make lavender or rose-flavored desserts, like this oh-so-pretty vegan Strawberry Rose chocolate tartlet!
4. Plant a garden.
This is my lifelong dream! If you have a plot of land, plant a garden. If you are a city dweller, you can work with a window sill, fire escape, hanging flower pots–or even indoor garden like so. Even a few pots of succulents, cacti, or an orchid will inspire and delight your senses.
5. Add flower power to your beauty routine.
Nothing makes me feel more pampered in a natural way than beauty oils infused with floral essential oils. Rose hip oil is a light, non comedogenic oil that evens skin tone and repairs damage. Try camellia oil (particularly good as hair serum) or rose oil (anti-aging), lavender oil (anti bacterial, calming, blemish-fighting). Of course, essential oils make lovely natural fragrances–I particularly love jasmine, ylang ylang (both said to improve sensuality), and tuberose.
6. Use dried flowers to decorate your home / bookmark / sleep better.
Fresh flowers always get the most credit but dried flowers last longer, and have a charm all their own. Press St. Ann’s Lace between pages of your favorite book, then make it into a bookmark or a page in your scrapbook. Dried lavender by your bed, or in a satchet in your drawer, will release lovely soothing scent for better sleep.
7. Fresh flowers in your hair!
Mary wore a lovely up-do with fresh blossoms for her wedding–so like her! It’s an amazing option for special occasions and of course, music festivals, but you can even do this for a regular old party or a date night: just go for a single dramatic bloom on the side of your chignon, rather than a full-on flower crown.
What’s your favorite way to incorporate flowers into your life? What’s your favorite flower and why? Mine (in no particular order): peonies, tuberose, certain roses, wisteria, magnolia…
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Photo: All Peaceful Dumpling except Hannah Kandinsky (last)