Up until recently, I did not 'get' flowers. I didn't love them and need them in the house to make me feel zen, Summer in the UK has me sneezing like there is no tomorrow and in terms of keeping them in the house? I found that I either forgot to water them (if that's what they needed) or didn't throw them away in time and they'd end up stinking out the house and then the bin. Pollen would get on my clothes, dead leaves would fall over the floor and there was nothing more annoying than constantly rubbing my eyes.
Perhaps it was blogging, or perhaps I grew up, but recently that has changed. I've started to appreciate them more and now love having them in the house. Anti-histamine pills have become a massive part of my life, but that's been a small price to pay for a home that I love looking at. We now have an orchid that lives in our bedroom and two huge house plants in the living room. I have little cacti plants coming out of my ears and even bought my first vase last weekend for all the flowers that I will now start buying for myself (because if that's not self-love then I don't know what is?!).
So last weekend, along with Alex and two of my closest friends, we bundled Bua and their dog Sid into the back of the car and headed down to Richmond Park. I have heard a lot about Petersham Nurseries in the past, seeing it in various vlogs and blog posts and seen some lovely photos popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feed. So while we were in the area we decided to pop in. GUYS I FELL IN LOVE WITH ALL OF IT.
It was the most beautiful thing and I wanted it all. (It was probably a huge blessing that my car was too far away and I couldn't actually carry them all home, via the park, with a very over-excited labradoodle attached to a rope hooked around my wrist!). There were rows and rows of flowers and plants and vases and pots and leaves and all things great.
There have, in the last few years, been a lot of studies that have been done that link flowers with improved mental health: A Rutgers University study found that the link between flowers and your satisfaction with life is so much more important than it had been first thought. Having flowers in your home increased happiness, reduces depression and anxiety and actually can increase emotional contact with friends and family. A different study by Harvard University found the same results – increased compassion, feeling less negative, and more energy at work. And then if all of that wasn't already enough, Texas A & M University found that flowers and plants in the workplace improve problem solving skills and increase creativity.
Last Saturday, I TOTALLY got this. The four of us spent over an hour literally walking up and down various paths doing nothing more than stopping to smell the flowers. We left feeling SO calm, all of us. It was like we had all been drugged to be honest, smiling at each other and fantasising about a house so full of wonderful things.
The trip gave me masses of inspiration, I've been plotting some Pinterest-Board worthy ideas for the house, most consisting of shelves covered in adorable doll house size plants, and I've also been planning as many trips as I can to various garden centres in the coming weeks to 'spruce up the house.
The thing is about plants and flowers is that they are not that expensive and they make a huge difference in a house. Whether it is the task of keeping one alive or simply the act of looking at something beautiful when you come into the house it is hardly surprising that the studies conducted found what they did. I see a noticeable difference in my mood when there are flowers in the house, I am so much more productive and generally happier in my own company.
So basically my advice is as follows: First things first go out and buy yourself a bunch of flowers, even if it's just a shitty little one from the local garage. Next, point yourself in the direction of a garden centre, or Petersham Nurseries if you don't live too far away, and literally just walk up and down the aisles looking at everything. Finally, find some space in your house and routine for some plants, even if it just a cactus, which is basically impossible to kill. Trust me. I know.