Sunshine, food and medicine

Double pink tulips at Keukenhof, in the Netherlands, March 2007 - instant happiness!

Double pink tulips at Keukenhof, in the Netherlands, March 2007 – instant happiness!

“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:

Flowers are the music

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. I love flowers, when I go for walks I stop and admire the flowers and nature in general. Thanks for sharing!

    Feel free to read some of my blogs 🙂

    • Thank you, Niraj! I’m woefully behind and short on time right now, but I just popped over to your blog to have a look, and I simply MUST return- I saw many posts that look really interesting. Thanks for stopping by here, and for your comment!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful perspective. I am somewhat new to gardening, some of my beds aren’t designed the best. Still learning. But I do believe you are right the flowers themselves bring so much to me and I like to think those that pass by. 🌸 🙂🌺

    • Yes! At nearly 65, I’m still learning myself– I think that’s one reason gardening is so common a pastime among retirees, because one never ceases to learn from close contact with nature. I think you will find (as I do) that the rewards will multiply and the knowledge you have will grow almost without your noticing it. For me, the biggest thing I had to let go of was the expectation of success that would be commensurate with effort. Some things I spent much time and effort to achieve didn’t work out the way I planned, and some things happened delightfully, huge success with little to no effort on my part. I learned to enjoy the surprise. Also, some plants take time to establish themselves, so I learned to be patient and not give up on a plant too soon. I wish you years of happy interaction with nature!

      • It’s so interesting and enlightening to hear your perspective and experiences with gardening. That lesson about amount of effort not always equaling success I can see being a big one in gardening. I can imagine it is easy to get discouraged. But you are so right we learn much from being close to nature. She is a wonderful teacher. I hope to garden all my life! 🌱 🌸

        • I hope you and I both do! Since we are part of creation, I suppose it’s only natural that the world of nature should parallel our lives in so many ways. Full of surprises and disappointments, ugliness and breathtaking beauty. Thanks for being here!

          • Yes, it does make sense our lives are similar to nature 🌸❤️🌱

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