When it comes to wedding season, all our thoughts go to pretty flowers. But experts say that petal power can do more than make your special day look sensational.
A recent study found that flowers and nature provide us with a simple way to improve our emotional wellbeing and health.
According to a team of researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, the presence of beautiful blooms triggers happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and, in short, make us feel positively glowing.
Summer floral arrangement by William Clarke
The study found that flowers had an immediate impact on happiness, helped alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety and increased emotional bonds and connections between friends and family.
“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy," study co-author, Dr Haviland-Jones told Huffpost Lifestyle. "Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional wellbeing."
Put the study's findings to the test with these mood-boosting blooms...
Award-winning florist William Clarke couldn’t agree more.
“Spend an afternoon in the countryside and you’ll instantly feel rejuvenated. There’s nothing better than walking into a room with flowers in -- they have an immediate effect on the senses,” Clarke told HuffPost Lifestyle.
Scroll down to find out what your flower choice means (PICTURES)
“I think sunflowers are best for lifting your mood. They’re big, bright and strong,” says Clarke.
“I also think a nice mix of peony roses are fabulous mood-boosters. They start off as a tiny bud but then they open up into a gorgeous flower. They look so delicate, but they are such a strong flower. You just can’t help but smile when you look at them.
“The burgundy-coloured peonies are stunning. Combine these with sunflowers and you’ll have a bunch of happiness in your hands.”
Display of peonies
And it’s not only the occasional bouquet of flowers that can increase your levels of happiness, but where you choose to display them.
A separate study by Rutgers found that having flowers in the workplace increases innovative thinking, productivity and creates a positive working environment.
This is something British work culture is lacking, says Clarke.
“Unfortunately, flowers in offices aren’t part of the British culture, unlike in somewhere like France, where flowers are a huge part of everyday life.
“I think a bold arrangement in the reception area or around desks could make a huge difference in morale in the workplace and rejuvenate the atmosphere.”
For centuries, flowers have been the ultimate symbol of love and romance. As Mae West once said: “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck”
Kate Middleton's bouquet contained myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth
Recently, psychologists from the University of South Brittany, found that the presence of flowers makes women more receptive to men’s advances, even when the flowers are in the background rather than presented as a gift.
“Flowers reflect our emotions and moods. They often convey feelings of compassion, regret, merriment or even romance. The results confirm the effect of exposure to flowers on receptivity to romantic request,” researchers told The Metro.
“It’s all part of the magic and mystery of flowers,” adds Clarke.
What are the best flowers for budding romance?
It’s all about the scent, says Clarke.
“Tudor roses are the most beautiful scented flowers and are very romantic, however lily of valley has the strongest scent. You really can’t match that.”
Delving into the current trend for stunning wedding arrangements, Clarke says the royal family have paved the way for romantic, sentimental flowers.
“Kate Middleton, and Princess Diana before her, had lily of the valley in their bridal bouquets. Not only does it smell divine, but it means increased happiness and sweetness.”
Find out what your favourite flower symbolises...