Why I turned to flower arranging during the pandemic


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Like many people, I love flowers.

I like to receive them, to offer them and, above all, to offer me a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Before the pandemic, I saw myself more as a traditional flower consumer; I would usually buy a ready-made floral bouquet from my local florist and call it a day.

Occasionally, I would ask questions out of curiosity about unfamiliar flowers, but mostly stuck to flowers that I knew (and loved).

I had grown up with flowers for occasions – birthdays, weddings, celebrations, funerals – and had always assumed that flowers were explicitly to commemorate those events.

My mother also kept a garden and grew roses and hibiscus (as well as others whose names I can’t remember), and she was happy to cut a few stems and place them in vases.

But decades later and living in an apartment building, it was very difficult to grow mine, and I also didn’t want to wait for someone to buy me flowers to enjoy them.

I started buying an occasional bouquet of flowers to brighten up my home.

Santilla Chingaipe lives in Australia, while her immediate family is abroad.(

Provided: Santilla Chingaipe

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Maybe it was the monotonous nature of living in Melbourne and wanting something to look forward to, or maybe it is the psychological benefits of flowers.

Either way, I found myself turning to flower arranging as a weekly pick-me-up.

Every week I visited my local florist who during the pandemic was selling seasonal market clusters.

For the first time in my adult life, I was exposed to a diverse range of flowers, from Australian natives to shrubs – I marveled at the textures and colors of these varieties. And I also started to appreciate the flowers that I had avoided before.

Close-up of an assortment of Australian natives for an article on flower arranging.
I became more aware of the different species of flowers.(

Provided

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Depending on my budget (and my mood), I made a point of stepping out of my comfort zone and buying flowers that I didn’t have before. I would ask about flowers to find out more about where they come from, how to care for them, and any other useful information.

Once home, I would take a vase (or suitable container) and slowly begin to arrange the bouquet of flowers.

I would take my time with each stem, pulling out the excess leaves and placing each in the vase. Instead of just throwing the bouquet into a vase, I found this weekly ritual to be not only meditative, but a huge mood booster.

It also made me feel connected to nature at a time when we couldn’t leave our homes outside of what was considered “essential travel”.

There was something deeply satisfying about not waiting for someone to buy me flowers, and knowing that I deserved to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers.

As a result, each week felt like a party.

I was curious if other people were drawn to the flower arrangement as well.

In recent months, many Australians have purchased more flowers than they usually do, with some florists across the country reporting a increased sales during the pandemic.

“Flowers make you feel better,” says Melbourne-based florist Valeria Naelli.

Valeria started her career in Italy after her grandmother fell ill. Taking care of plants and flowers helped her recover and led Valeria to devote herself to floristry.

Melbourne florist, Valeria Naelli, holds a large bouquet of flowers for an article on flower arranging.
Melbourne-based florist Valeria Naelli recommends buying seasonal flowers and drying the flowers for reuse later in the year.(

Provided

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She is not surprised that there has been a resurgence of interest in flower arranging during the lockdown.

“There are so many different reasons: colors have an impact on our emotions, like chromotherapy; the scent… and also because the house looks empty without flowers, ”she says.

Close-up on a bouquet of poppies for an article on flower arranging.
Keeping flowers at home has helped me stay in touch with the natural world.(

Provided

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Besides their aesthetic benefit, research shows that flowers can have a “relaxing effect “ on people, while having a positive impact on physiological recovery.

Valeria recommends anyone who wants to start arranging flowers “to explore different textures, different colors, because there are so many different shades and types of flowers”.

“Play with the natural form,” she says.

She also recommends that anyone investing in flowers purchase seasonal flowers whenever possible and dry the flowers for reuse later in the year.

Although I don’t imagine that I will start to create intricate floral arrangements and designs, I do know that having flowers in my house and taking time out during my week to organize a bouquet works wonders for my mental well-being. .

I can’t remember a time in my life when I paid so much attention to the natural world around me, or when I was so delighted to see the first flowers of spring.

It is a ritual that I will continue to practice in the days, weeks and months to come.

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Rosalie M. Dehner