The Joy of Giving Flowers

Posted: July 11, 2012

The history of flower giving extends back thousands of years as a way for people to communicate with each other. Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese all refer to the use of flowers in their stories and myths. The Greeks considered flowers to be particularly important and associated them with the gods.
Flower arrangements don’t need to be costly and complicated.  Spring daffodils, recycled glass jars, some burlap and scraps of ribbon make great gifts for family and friends.

Flower arrangements don’t need to be costly and complicated. Spring daffodils, recycled glass jars, some burlap and scraps of ribbon make great gifts for family and friends.

Victorians, living in an era when people did not believe in openly expressing emotions, found the language of flowers to be an acceptable form of expression. In the typical fashion of the Victorian era, great effort and detail went into giving meaning to everything about the flower. Take roses for example.  Red roses implied passionate, romantic love, pink roses a lesser affection, white roses suggested virtue and chastity and yellow roses stood for friendship or devotion. Some of these meanings still apply today.  A flower’s color, size, condition, and position in relation to other flowers in a bouquet, for example, all conveyed meaning without saying a word.
The history of flower giving continues to be written. In the United States, it might have once seemed inappropriate for a woman to give flowers to a man. Today, that practice is no longer out of the ordinary. Both men and women enjoy giving and receiving flowers.
Flowers have a therapeutic effect on us. They just make us feel good. Flowers have the power to lift our spirits. There is no greater joy than when a child proudly gives its mother a handful of dandelions that were lovingly picked by the child’s little hands.
Until recently, there was not any scientific reason or research to prove that flowers could actually affect people’s moods and make them happy. Researchers at Rutgers University did a ten-month study and concluded that there is a link between flowers and moods, and this research could prove to be the foundation of a whole new paradigm in therapy. In one experiment, those who were feeling low and depressed felt good almost immediately after receiving a gift of flowers.
However, science hasn’t discovered anything new. We have always known this about flowers from our own personal experiences. Science has only strengthened our knowledge with solid proof. No wonder that we have the tradition of taking flowers when we go to see someone in the hospital. Flowers have a healing touch. They make people feel more optimistic and look at the brighter side of life. Flowers make us happy and lessons the tensions of daily life.
It is very simple to make a small bouquet of flowers from your flower garden. Cut the flowers in the morning for optimal freshness. Make sure that you use a flower that has a straight stem. Cut the bottom of the stem at an angle to expose more of the stem’s surface area so the plant can take up more water and stay fresher longer. Decide if you want greenery to accompany the flowers. You can use a fern leaf with the flowers. You can also use the leaves that come with the flower that you picked. A single large hydrangea bloom makes a striking arrangement. Recycle jars and tie ribbons around them for your vases. Be creative and colorful.
A random act of kindness is defined as a selfless act performed by someone wishing to either assist or cheer up another individual. Anne Herbert reminds us to “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Practice random acts of kindness through the gift of flower giving and reap the rewards from it!
Carolyn Black is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County.  Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg.
PENN STATE MASTER GARDENERS HOTLINE   In need of answers to your gardening questions?  We may be able to help.  The Penn State Master Gardeners Hotline is open April through September on Mondays and Fridays, from 10 am to 2 pm.  Call 717-334-6271 or bring in your samples for diagnosis to Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.