Sunshine, food and medicine
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.” — Luther Burbank
As a person who tends to be
cheap frugal, spending money on fresh flowers is something that doesn’t come easily for me. But the benefits of having them around more than make up for what we spend. Besides, we’ve found ways to make this joy available for very little cost.
I haven’t had much luck growing the types of flowers that are ideal for cut flower arrangements, but often I can pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers at the grocery store — sometimes even at markdown prices, if I go in the evenings or right after a big holiday — and arrange them in a container, filling in with greenery and flowers from my yard that aren’t enough to fill a vase on their own. The arrangement I pictured in this post is an example of markdown flowers I supplemented with clippings from our plants.
Over time, I’ve learned which cut flowers tend to last the longest, and I change the water often to keep them fresh. There are times when we’ve enjoyed an arrangement for a week or more, and every time we walk into the kitchen, it gives us a quick boost to our spirits.
Of course, the mood-elevating effect is multiplied many times over when seeing flowers that are growing outdoors in yards or gardens, and those offer shared enjoyment for all who pass. One reason I love walking so much is the chance to see more fresh, gorgeous flowers in less than an hour’s time than I might see in a week if I didn’t walk. The time our neighbors spend on their lawns and gardens is a gift to me that I would hate not to open.
Luther Burbank was a man of science who was not indulging in fancy when he attributed mental health benefits to flowers. Studies such as this one indexed at the National Library of Medicine establish data-based support for the quote above. Though viewing images of flowers and foliage is also helpful, this study and others document that nothing is quite equal to the neurophysiological effect of the real thing.
I’ve come to view whatever I spend on flowers, whether in a garden, in a bouquet at home, or as a gift to someone else, as an investment in mental health, one that is sorely needed in modern life. Today, I hope you’ll find a few minutes to enjoy some fresh flowers, whether in your own yard, on a stroll or on a quick run to the grocery store. Flowers are truly medicine to the mind!
One year ago today: