Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace. "

May Sarton
________________________________________________________________

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Flowers - Enter Laughing



"The earth laughs in flowers..." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


If Emerson was right, then the earth in my part of the world, the northeast United States, is guffawing right now ... big belly laughs of coneflower, Shasta Daisy, Daylilies and more.

Chuckling up lantana...giggling petunias.....how could you not smile?

flowers make us happy...but why?

Well, a fascinating study in the journal of   Evolutionary Psychology – ISSN 1474-7049 – Volume 3. 2005. - 121 studied this very phenomenon.

Psychological reearchers from Rutgers studied the effects of flowers on people and wrote  "An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers"

Within their exhaustive study the scientists wrote this ( I selected these paragraphs out of the multi page report) :

"our results indicate that the simple presentation of flowers, even a single flower, will release a strong and immediate behavior reflecting positive affect...


Anecdotally, the responses are even more fervent than the behavioral observations have indicated. Some participants responded with such unusual (for experimental studies) emotional displays that we were unprepared to measure them and have only field notes to indicate their presence.

I planted these lilies, rudbeckia and coneflowers after my firm installed the swimming pool and walls - the flowers make it!

We received attractive “Thank you” cards and letters from several participants who received flowers for allowing them to be in the study, some with photographs of the flowers, one with multiple photographs to show the continuing beauty of the bouquet.

I like to combine blue angelonia with euphorbia 'diamond frost' and blue star juniper, pennisetum

In many years of studying emotions, we have never received hugs and kisses, thank you notes or photographs, not even for candy, doughnuts, decorated shirts or hats, gift certificates, or direct monetary payment; the flowers are different...
Yarrow 'Coronation Gold' - bright yellow makes us release happy chemical - serotonin -  in our brains!

...humans are biologically primed to associate flowers with happiness...

...Our hypothesis is that cultivated flowers fit into an emotional niche - their sensory properties elicit human positive emotions. The flowering plants are thereby rewarding to humans and in return, the cultivated flowers receive propagation that only humans can provide. "
 
I planted a mass of Knockout double roses next to a weeping white pine and grew Dutchman's pipe around the bannister

ah! we need the flowers for our emotional health ...and they need us to propagate them.  so smart - those little flowers...

4 comments:

  1. Hi, Jan! What a wonderful post!!! Science is stating facts that we gardeners have known all along. So true, though...how in the world can one NOT be happy with even a little tiny bloom showing it's sweet face?

    I'm wallowing in your coneflowers!! I love them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. ah, Kimberly - laughing and wallowing - what fun!

    thanks for the great comment...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love it when scientists are blown away by such common knowledge! Empirically speaking, flowers rock!

    ReplyDelete
  4. A scientific study--woot (new fashionable word I find on opinion blogs).

    I have always wallowed in flowers--when I was a toddler I beheaded an entire tulip bed which my mother has planned for a special event. This year the heat here in the midwest has somewhat blighted my celebration, but not much.

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! I would love to hear from you....