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This week, a dozen or more people I follow on Instagram have forwarded me a TikTok reel about a Harvard study on the benefits of having flowers in the home. I was excited to see there has actually been some research on this!!

While the video’s current popularity makes you think that this is an exciting new study, it turns out that the research was actually completed in 2006 by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who sought to learn what positive effects flowers could have on people. I think by scientific research standards, 2006 is not that old anyways?


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65 women between the ages of 24 and 60 years old, all living in Boston, participated in the study, and were informed they were assisting in research investigating the correlation between home environment and wellbeing. Some participants were mailed flowers periodically as part of their participation throughout the study; the others, a candle.


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Key findings were that having flowers in the home significantly increased feelings of compassion and kindness towards others, as well as a decrease in depression and anxiety. “These effects were not found for the group who received candles, suggesting that the effect was due to the presence of flowers, rather than a response to receiving a gift.”

I hadn’t known of this study until this week but I was so glad to learn of it! Anecdotal evidence from journalism, conversation with others, and direct personal experience has always suggested to me that flowers lift our mood. A person rarely frowns when you hand them flowers. In fact, the opposite is true - people generally light up!


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Etcoff’s abstract cites historical findings research completed prior to hers:

The gardens of ancient Egyptian nobility, the walled gardens of Persian settlements in Mesopotamia, and the gardens of merchants in medieval Chinese cities show that early urban people went to considerable length to maintain contact with nature. For many cultures, flowers in particular have provided solace, tranquility, joy, and sensual pleasure. They have also been known to convey sympathy, guilt, romantic interest, pride, joy, and celebration (Heilmeyer, 2001). Furthermore, the vast majority of personal commercial fragrances that exist today have floral top notes.

Research has shown that people from diverse cultures prefer to look at natural landscape scenes over urban or built views devoid of cues such as water and trees (Hull & Revell, 1989). Other evidence for positive responses to natural environments comes from studies of people who view stressful movies and are then assigned to view videotapes of natural scenes vs. urban environments lacking nature. Ulrich et al. (1991) found that both verbal 2 and physiological measures converged in indicating that recuperation from stress was faster and more thorough when people were exposed to natural settings. People report higher levels of positive feelings; lower levels of anger, aggression and fear; and showed lower blood pressure and greater reduction in muscle tension when viewing natural scenes rather than urban environments. One potential limitation of all of this research is that it has been done via simulations of nature (videos, photographs) rather than with natural stimuli themselves. The current research builds on recent work by Haviland-Jones, Rosario, Wilson and McGuire (2005) who found flowers to be natural rewards. They elicited smiles of true enjoyment 100% of the time upon receipt and led to more positive social behaviors, more positive moods, and to improved episodic memory in the elderly.


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If, like me, you somewhat ironically experience a bit of depression as the winter turns to spring, and days warm up and beautiful blossoms open up everywhere, it might be a great time to sign up for our sustainable flower delivery. The benefits go far beyond the beautification of your home, it turns out! I’m not making it up!

As a sustainable florist, we specialize in sourcing the freshest locally grown flowers, and have designed the most environmentally friendly flower delivery method possible. We wrap our flowers in 100% recycled kraft paper sleeves, and do not use any synthetic chemicals or products in our arrangements. This way, there’s virtually no waste or trash! Your flowers can be composted, and your packaging can be either composted or recycled. 


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You can opt for weekly flower delivery or biweekly flower delivery; you can also choose to pick up at one of 18 locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn to pick up your bouquets.

You can read more about how our sustainable flower subscriptions work HERE

I hope you’ll consider joining in before spring is over! We have loads more gorgeousness coming from our local farm partners - ranunculus, specialty tulips, butterfly ranunculus, peonies, delphinium and more!

April 11, 2024 — Molly Culver

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