Flower Power! 

Submitted by Shelby Wood, Manager of Program Development 

Following this evening’s gathering celebrating May Flowers and Mothers I was reminded of how much I enjoy flowers. The diverse colors, shapes and smells – it really is a feast for the senses! Tonight we each made a bouquet out of the flowers shared by attendees at our gathering. As everyone brought something seasonal and different we celebrated an explosion of color and smell that lingered with me throughout my ride home. I can still smell the apple blossom and daffodils as I am writing this post. This made me consider my past experiences walking in botanical gardens, and stopping to smell the wildflowers on a hike. I realized the emotion that comes to mind when I think of ‘flower’ is content. I was curious if there’s something to this, and wanted to share a bit of what I found with you all.

According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, plants (not specifically flowers) have many benefits to our overall health and wellness.

  • Improves concentration and memory. In a cited study by University of Michigan (Sewach) being around plants helps improve memory retention by up to 20%.
  • Botanical Gardens and Parks often offer educational programming that benefit the community and provide STEAM opportunities to engage children’s curiosity about horticulture and the world around them.
  • “Flowers Generate Happiness” this section was so relevant to what I wanted to share, that I’ve included it here:

Flowers Generate Happiness.  Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed.

Keeping flowers around the home and in the workplace greatly reduces a person’s stress levels. Natural aesthetic beauty is soothing to people, and keeping ornamental flowers around the home environment is an excellent way to lower levels of stress and anxiety. People who keep flowers in their home feel happier, less stressed, and more relaxed. As a result of the positive energy they derive from the environment, the chances of suffering from stress-related depression are decreased as well. Overall, adding flowers to your home or work environment reduces your perceived stress levels and makes you feel more relaxed, secure, and happy. Flowers can help you achieve a more optimistic outlook on your life, bringing you both pleasing visual stimulation and helping you to increase your perceived happiness.

(Brethour 2007, Collins 2008, Dunnet 2000, Etcoff 2007, Frank 2003, Haviland-Jones 2005, Hartig 2010, McFarland 2010, Rappe 2005, Waliczek 2000 as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)

  • Access to green spaces improve mood, and offer more opportunity for physical activity leading to improved overall wellness. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, Mitchell, 2008, Bisco Werner 1996, Brethour 2007, Fjeld 2000, Frank 2003, Sallis 1995, Shoemaker 2009, The Trust for Public Land 2008, Wolf 2004b as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)
  • Hospitals use ornamental plants and have found that when placed in a recovery room there is a reduction in healing time. (Brethour 2007, Frank 2003, Friend 2008, Lohr 2000, Park, 2009, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Assn. 2009, Ulrich 1984 as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)
  • Improved interpersonal relationships, due to a marked increase in feelings of compassion. (Brethour 2007, Etcoff 2007, Frank 2003, Hagen 2009, Haviland-Jones 2005, Pohmer 2008, Rappe 2005 as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Etenxsion)
  • Many plants have medicinal qualities.
  • People perceive beautiful landscaping with a higher quality of life. (Brethour 2007 as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)
  • Engaging with nature has a proven positive impact on mental health by reducing stress, and increasing positive emotions .I am currently reading The Nature Fix by Florence Williams and recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about how nature benefits our overall wellness. (Barnicle 2003, Faber Taylor 2001b, Grinde 2009, McFarland 2010, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens 2009, Shoemaker 2009, Wolf 2004b as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension )
  • Parks give people a sense of community, which in turn is correlated to lower crime. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009; Austin 2002; Bisco Werner 1996; Brethour 2007; Brown 2010; Brunson 1998; Frank 2003; Gorham 2009; Harnik 2009; Inerfield 2002; Kuo 2001b, 2001c, 2003; Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Assn. 2009; The Trust for Public Land 2008; Wolf 2004b as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension )
  • Traffic Safety: having a landscaped median helps increase driver attitude, and decrease likelihood of someone mistakenly crossing the median. (Wolf, 2001b, 2001c, 2006 as cited in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension )

In reading this outline provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and in reading The Nature Fix it seems clear there is evidence backing the notion of Flower Power!  

Below is a brief video from one of my favorite places: Longwood Gardens. Please enjoy!

Works Cited: 

“Ellison Chair in International Floriculture.” Ellison Chair in International Floriculture ICal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension , ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/.

LongwoodGardensInc, director. Longwood Gardens Tulip Display. YouTube, YouTube, 23 Apr. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyWFh2r-zcU.

Shelby Wood
Shelby WoodManager of Program Development, CommunityCare of Lyme

If you have a wellness themed topic you would like to share or learn more about, and/or blog/vlog about as an expert in a health/wellness related field, please reach out to shelby@cclyme.org. 

Shelby Wood
Manager of Program Development
CommunityCare of Lyme