I love working with flowers and often sign-off my emails and newsletters with a cheery Happy Flowers! But do flowers really make us happy? A quick trawl of the internet confirms they do.
A study undertaken in the USA says that flowers bring happiness. In fact, the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behaviour in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed. Its nature’s way of enabling us to manage our day to day moods, says Jeannette Haviland-Jones, lead researcher on the study.
Interestingly the study also explored where we display flowers at home. Most commonly we place them in those parts of our homes that are open to visitors – such as hallways and living rooms, suggesting that flowers are a symbol for sharing, making our homes more welcoming to friends and family.
As well as welcoming friends to our homes, I’m of the view that the creativity of flower arranging is good for our all-round wellbeing. The NHS advise that there are five-steps to wellbeing: connect, be active, keep learning, give to others and be mindful. Embracing flowers can be one way of providing a focus to put these steps into practice.
With this in mind I’ve embarked on a training programme (supported by Age UK Canterbury, Arts Council England, the NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group and Canterbury City Council) called LAPWING. This programme has been designed to support artists and creatives in Kent who want to make a difference to the wellbeing of Kent’s vulnerable, particularly older people. It gives artists the opportunity to develop their practice and become sensitised to the needs of our ageing population (and those in the community with mental health/dementia issues), providing them with the grounding to deliver a programme of creative activities to stimulate feelings of wellbeing.
Recently I was involved in two celebration events marking the end of projects being led by artist Sue Toft at Cranmer House and the Age UK day centre in Canterbury. Sue has been working with a group at the day centre and pupils from Simon Langton Girl’s Grammar School to foster inter-generational conversation, memory and wisdom sharing as part of a project called Talking Trees. As Sue says “the Talking Trees project has been a real success in terms of bringing together young and old. The memory tree we created acted as a catalyst to many conversations, reminiscences and words of wisdom being passed down from one generation to the next”.
With the support of the Talking Trees/LAPWING project facilitator I’m about to start my own Talking Trees project at the Age UK day centre in Faversham, bringing my floristry skills to the day centre users to help create them their own memory tree.
Thank you to Nathalie Bainaigs for allowing me to reproduce these photographs.
If you’re planning to find your happy with flowers this week don’t forget you can amaze your friends with your knowledge about getting your flowers to last longer. Sign up here for access to my free five-day mini course and make a start on getting your flowers to last longer.
Keeping in touch
Until next time, happy flowers!
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