December 19, 2006

Flowers for Winter Moods

There has been a Harvard study that shows exposure to fresh flowers increases compassion, and decreases anxiety and worry. During the darkest months of Winter, we can reach out the the southern hemisphere for cut flowers such as this gloriosa lily, or fragrant roses. It was found that people were less negative after a few days with flowers in the home, and the benefits extend to the workplace also. So receiving flowers generally makes people feel happy, beyond just the natural reaction to getting a considerate and beautiful gift. The greatest mood boosting effects were felt when the flowers were placed in the common areas of the home. People want to see them first thing in the morning. We know the mind and body register the smallest event, and it's good to know that exposure to flowers predispose to love and compassion. Here is a message from the Dalai Lama on the benefits of cultivating such states. Personally I think they have an effect on general well being, whether or not there is a spiritual component. Reconnecting to nature itself through beauty predisposes us to a state of happiness.
Here is an article that tells more about the study.
The flowers above come from a nice British site with lovely pictures that are pretty uplifting in and of themselves, that gives many ideas for the use of flowers in decorating gifts and for seasonal accents, caring for them in the home, floral trends and ideas.
Smith and Hawken in the U.S. also offers flowers suitable for decorating gift packaging, such as small white amaryllis.


Anonymous said...

Hello Lucy: I will be in NYC in a few days and must buy "natural" perfume for my 3 girls. With no time to order on line I'm hoping to find a physical location that carries natural products. Can you suggest a place in "The City" that I can shop for same. Sorry, but it is unclear to me if you craft natural perfume. Your help would be most helpful. You can reply to if you wish or I'll check this blog later. Roy Silfven, Bend OR

Lucy said...

Hi Roy -- well, most true all natural perfume makers are custom or mail order, but there are some who are becoming brands that are available in certain very good stores. For all absolutely natural perfumes, you can try Aftelier and also Ajne at Henri Bendel, on Fifth Avenue at around 56th Street. The second floor Mezzanine has a wonderful perfume section with very knowledgeable sales assistants. Make sure they realize what you want - true ALL naturals. There are also Strange Invisible Perfumes which are completely natural at Barneys, which also has a wonderful perfume section. Then there are a few that make mostly natural perfume with some synths, but make them in the old way with the methods that have always been used, such as Creed, which you can get at Saks Fifth Avenue, some of their much older formulations (they began in the 18th century) are all natural. You can ask them to review perfumes with you that were created before the 1850s. They still make them the exact same way and they are available. Also Santa Maria Novella, the older line, same story, except they started formulating perfumes back in the middle ages in Florence. They have a store in SoHo, if you are downtown. There are many who claim to be making all natural perfumes but many if not all have synthetic elements. I must warn you that the perfumes I have mentioned above are quite expensive, usually in the $150-$200 range. If you don't want to make such an investment, you can obtain some good quality colognes that are fairly light and made of all natural ingredients, you can try the Aubrey Organics line at some of the better drug stores such as Bigelows or LifeThyme on 6th Avenue in the Village, but they are nationally distributed. Personally I would go for something from Aftelier at Bendel's. They are really special and definitely truly all natural. Mandy Aftel is the person who actually would be most responsible for the revival of interest in making and wearing all natural perfumes. Bendels also has her book at the perfume counter "Essence and Alchemy" if your giftees care to read more about the whole subject...
Happy holiday, and have a great time in NYC!

Anonymous said...

Lucy- Thank you lots! I'll let you know how my fragrant gift shopping adventure turns out. Roy