A Chinese proverb says: ‘When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.’
It’s a pretty tough transition to go from the wonderful flowers of spring and summer, to the glorious tones of reds, oranges and yellows in the fall, to the colourless whites and greys of winter.
If you get the blues during this time of year, it really helps to keep some pretty plants in your house to get you through those dreary days.
A friend of mine has always been willing to budget a little extra of her hard-earned money to buy a bouquet of flowers for her table, all year round, for as long as I can remember. To her, they’re worth every penny, because they lift her spirits and bring cheer and beauty into her home. I’m too tight to spring for the bouquets, but now I continually keep a colourful plant on my table to enjoy until I can cut some out of the garden again.
Lovely poinsettias are always a Christmas favourite, especially the big ones with the added touch of sparkles all over the leaves.
My plant is now going on five years old, looking like a three-foot high bonsai tree, so you don’t necessarily have to throw them out. Other choices for winter are the beautiful orchids, the brightly tri-coloured plant I just bought from the grocery store called a kalanchoe, African violets or the unfortunately short-blooming winter cactus or impressive amaryllis.
Your potted geraniums from summer will sometimes keep their pretty blooms for quite a while, or maybe even some good fake flowers might do the trick. Ideally, you want plants that have long-lasting blooms with plenty of colour, so check out the florists, grocery and plant stores to see what pick-me-ups they have to offer.
We should never underestimate flower power and how they can affect our psychological well-being and grey matter. Take for example the University of Florida brain awareness study, in which the keynote speaker discussed flowers’ effects on us humans. She states: “Flowers are not only a symbol of happiness and good cheer, but that their little chemical factories create positive responses within our brains along with decreasing anxiety and improving our moods. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes people better survivors because positive people are more likely to maintain social relationships, reproduce, find needed resources and be creative.”
They also found that the more flowers older adults received, the happier they were.
So make this winter a little easier by adding some flowers to your home just to give yourself a little cheer with the added bonus of a brain boost and fewer ‘senior moments.’
And let’s not forget those friends or neighbours who truly struggle through these colourless months by surprising them with a pretty pot too.