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Minter: Fresh flowers make you happy. Here's the scientific proof

The value of fresh flowers should not be underestimated, writes master gardener Brian Minter.

The following column was submitted to the Tri-City News from Brian Minter — master gardener, best-selling author, Order of Canada recipient and co-owner of Minter Country Garden Store.


Now that we can once again visit friends and family to celebrate this festive Christmas season, why not bring a gift of flowers? 

The value of fresh flowers should not be underestimated.

According to independent research, a gift of flowers makes people genuinely happy. To approach this in a scientific manner, the Society of American Florists partnered with the world-renowned researcher, Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., of Rutgers University, on some ground-breaking research to examine the effect of flowers on human emotion and well being.

Over a 10-month period, some very interesting results were discovered. Dr. Haviland-Jones and her research team found that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects future behaviour in a positive manner far beyond what is normally true.

Flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods. “Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy," says Dr. Haviland-Jones, “and now science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, but they also have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”

We’re very fortunate to have so many local cut flower growers in B.C.

From fragrant lilies, long-lasting chrysanthemums and alstromerias to gerbera daisies, perfumed freesias and stocks, stunning snapdragons and stems of gorgeous cymbidium orchids, there are so many varieties of fresh flowers available in our local markets, garden stores and flower shops. You’ll also find mixed bouquets in all colours, price ranges and with varying degrees of perfume.

Even fresh tulips are now available, as well as truly unique garden roses that are being grown on Vancouver Island.

Although we want to bring our carbon footprints down, we have local importers who bring in many more exotic flowers, like proteas and birds of paradise. Spicy carnations and mini carnations are also among the popular imports.

To keep the water flowing and help the flowers last, it is always a good idea to re-cut the stems on all fresh flowers the moment you receive them. Research has also proven that exposure to constant, rather than fluctuating temperatures, increases the lifespan of flowers. In other words, keep them at a reasonably cool room temperature rather than in a warm room by day and in the cold at night.

Fresh flowers will lift our spirits – perhaps, more than we can imagine. Depending on what you buy, they don’t have to cost a great deal, and often just a few flowers can make all the difference in anyone’s day.

Fresh flowers are not just for seasonal events or special occasions but are something to be enjoyed year-round.