Hello everyone, my name’s Lou and I have a flower shop called 4 Seasons on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate.
I’ve been passionate about flowers and plants for as long as I can remember, my Grandma inspired me to do what I do, she was a keen gardener and loved her flowers. Our childhood summers were mainly spent in Whitby, in her huge garden on the cliff top, overlooking the sea, picking strawberries and raspberries, pruning the hydrangeas and watering the tomatoes in the greenhouse (I can’t smell a tomato these days without thinking of her!) Such lovely happy memories, we were very lucky!
Myroo asked me to write this blog about how having flowers and plants in your home and workspace improves happiness and health – a very easy task if you ask me!!
So, firstly, the obvious reason; they just make your space look so much prettier! A vase full of bright yellow tulips on the kitchen table in spring, a white orchid plant sitting on your desk at work or a big green cheese plant standing to attention filling a dull corner in your living room – simple ideas but ones to bring a smile to your face when you look at them, nurture them, watch them grow and talk to them (That’s not just me is it?! )
Research has found that people who care for the natural world, in this case, tending to plants and flowers, are statistically more likely to care for others and one study found that having flowering plants around you can reduce stress levels and anxiety, this is because they have a natural aesthetic beauty that has a soothing effect and makes you go ‘ahhhhh’, so the power of flowers definitely boosts your mood!
There aren’t only psychological reasons as to why plants make you healthier and happier, there are scientific reasons too; NASA scientists have been researching solutions to combat indoor air pollutants (these are ranked among the top 5 environmental risks to public health!) and their answer – Use houseplants to clean the air – Simple!
People these days are spending more than 90% of their time indoors, some would say we are a growing population of couch potatoes (I have to say, I’m not sure I wholly agree with that!) meaning that indoor air pollutants are becoming more stagnant and rife in our homes and work spaces and we are just breathing them in. Plants basically purify the air, (here comes the science bit…) by absorbing the pollutants surrounding us at the same time as they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis – et voila – cleaner air for us!
Here are my fave 3 houseplants
Spathiphyllum ‘Peace Lily’ – This luscious green houseplant with its beautiful white flowers detoxifies the air of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and ammonia.
Aloe Vera – This succulent, with it’s sage green, thick fleshy leaves is a fab all rounder as it removes formaldehyde from the air but it’s leaves are also full of liquid, jam packed with vitamins, enzymes and amino acids which have anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties.
Nephrolepsis Exaltata ‘Boston Fern’- This is my absolute favourite indoor plant, with it’s zesty green, prongy frongs, it’s just so cool! This one detoxifies the air of formaldehyde and xylene.
My job covers all the emotions, most of the time it’s happy ones like weddings, new baby’s and birthdays, I love seeing the smile on people’s faces when they answer the door to me holding a huge bunch of blooms, it makes their day and mine too! Although, other times are sad occasions, like funerals, however, the way I have learnt to cope with these is to feel privileged that I am responsible for being able to do one of the last things you can do for a person, by creating flowery tributes on behalf of their family and friends, this makes me happy.
What is the kindest thing you do for yourself?
This is a tricky one for me, I am my own worst enemy sometimes, and I’m always so hard on myself! Recently I have been trying really hard to just give myself a break and concentrate on what I have and have already achieved rather than what I haven’t got and what I’ve not achieved (Yet!!) Easier said than done though! And I am the biggest worrier; I drive myself mad because a lot of the time it’s about silly things that are out of my control anyway so I’m just wasting energy! I read something the other day that said ‘you only have so much emotional energy each day. Don’t fight battles that don’t matter” And I’m trying, really really trying!!
What one thing could we all do to be kinder to others?
I try to be kind to others all the time, it’s so important!! I’d love to be remembered as being a kind person, much more so than being ‘good with flowers’! I guess the one thing we could all do to be kinder is to just ‘smile’ it isn’t difficult, doesn’t take any energy and most importantly, it’s infectious!! ☺
How can we be kinder to the planet?
There are so many things we can do to be kinder to the planet, even just little things like shopping locally; obviously I feel strongly about this subject as I have a local shop but it’s a lot more than just supporting local people. It’s about being more aware of things like where your food comes from and what’s actually in it. Going to local greengrocers for instance means less plastic being used as using local, healthier produce usually won’t come packaged in plastic. It lessens the carbon footprint, as it won’t have as far to travel – all this adds up to being kinder to the planet.
In my shop, I am trying to find ways of being kinder to the planet, I always try and buy British flowers when I can or use local growers, heck, I even have my mum growing sweet peas for me every year and a friend grows the most beautiful gladioli in his garden for me. I am trying to reduce drastically my use of plastic packaging with my bouquets and using recycled paper instead. So many little things can be done that you may think won’t make a difference but they will and if we all had input and tried, this world could become a better place for sure!