The Earth Laughs in Flowers - and So Do We!

Knockout Roses - Jan Johnsen  

"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 starting to giggle right now ... and soon it will be guffawing with big belly laughs of coneflowers, Shasta Daisies, Daylilies and more.

Chuckling up lantana and 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 researchers 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 combined blue angelonia with euphorbia 'diamond frost' and blue star juniper, pennisetum - Jan Johnsen

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' - Jan Johnsen

...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."

Ah! We need the flowers for our emotional health and they could use a little help sometimes to propagate.  

So smart - those little flowers.


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