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Freshly cut flowers are one of life’s little luxuries that is still available right now. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, selecting a bright bloom for your desk, kitchen table or bedside table may be just the ticket.
It won’t solve everything, of course, but a simple bunch can bring bring colour, texture and variety into our homes, says Alice Vincent, author of Rootbound and the plant-based Instagram account, Noughticulture. And it’s particularly helpful, if you’re feeling claustrophobic in your current environment.
“I’m a stickler for only buying seasonal, British-grown flowers, which means that the blooms I have in my home tie me to the outside world – an increasingly crucial thing in lockdown,” Vincent tells HuffPost UK.
“The innately ephemeral nature of flowers means that they can keep you in the present moment. As much as I like watching cut flowers open from bud, I also find a beauty in their gradual decay and decline. Keeping flowers on the table can keep us observant to the natural progression of things.”
Flowers are scientifically-backed mood boosters. One study led by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey found that women who received flowers reported more positive moods three days later. A flower, given to men or women in an elevator, was also found to elicit more positive social behaviour than other stimuli. And when presented to elderly participants, flowers were linked to improved mood and memory.
But you don’t have to wait for someone else to buy you a bouquet. Another study by the University of North Florida found flowers in your home can reduce stress – whether they are a gift or you have purchased them yourself.
Of course, opportunities to buy fresh blooms are limited at the moment. But British-grown daffodils are appearing in supermarkets ahead of spring for as little as £1 a bunch, says Vincent, who recommends them as a cheap and “irresistibly cheering” option.
“You can also buy narcissus, such as tête-à-tête, and other bulbs, like hyacinths, planted in pots,” she adds. “These are a more sustainable option as they will flower more slowly – there’s a magic in watching their stems grow and buds unfurl – and will last several weeks in your home.”
Once plants have flowered, plant them outside, in a pot or a garden, where they should grow to flower again next spring. “In general, support your local florist – although many aren’t open, there are lots still doing deliveries and they will know best about what is in season,” Vincent adds.
Buying flowers for yourself feels like a gorgeous indulgence, but if you’re feeling generous, you might want to consider sending a bunch to a friend in need of a boost. There are lots of delivery services available online, many of which offer flowers than can be posted straight through the letter box.
Even caring for your flowers can break up your day with a moment of mindfulness. A little effort will also ensure cut flowers last for longer.
“Bacteria is the biggest cause of flowers not lasting longer, so make sure you put them in a clean vase and keep the water changed every couple of days,” says Vincent. “Strip the lower leaves from the stems, as these can rot in the water and speed up decay. And finally, cut the stems cleanly, on an angle, before you put them in water. I cut mine by a centimetre or so every couple of days when I change the water.”
Before you know it, you’ve got a daily reminder that spring (and better days) are coming.