1001 Ways to Achieve Rehabilitation : No. 2 Flowers

Saturday, May 21, 2016


In a previous post, I talked about some of the research that indicates flowers are mood-enhancers. In the post, I write about how more hospitals are cultivating rehabilitative gardens as part of their horticultural therapy programs. 

Since this previous post, Spring sprung upon us and we learned that the previous owners of our humble homestead had green thumb. (We confirmed this with the neighbors.) Just when we were beginning to wonder how we could include more flowers into our home and work spaces on a daily basis, everything outdoors started blooming. We learned we have more than one variety and color of rose, we have several peonies, and what we believe to be rhododendrons. 

We also have several species of grass and weed, as well as creeping vines and reaching bushes. We have thistles, reeds, and ferns. Even the desiccated daisies I pulled out of the planters have risen anew.  It's really quite astounding what has come forth from the rich, rocky soil. 

Knowing that we have a responsibility to our pets, we petitioned some friends and coworkers to help us identify the plants on our property. We even have some avid gardeners coming by this weekend to do a walk-around of the property so we can take pictures and make notes.  We don't want our goats filling their bellies with lethal would-be rhododendrons. 

In the previous article, I summarized relevant research on why flowers can be so powerful in the rehabilitative process and some of our own anecdotal evidence on why flowers are helpful. Mood-boosting qualities aside, there is something to be send about the meditative and aerobic qualities of tending to both indoor and outdoor gardens. Whether you're physically able to get out in the roughage and yank weeds or till soil, or if you select potted plants you keep indoors and on the patio, tending to flowers, bushes, and edibles can be a rehabilitative process. 
There are many options for including flowers-fresh or faux-into your life. Below is just a short list, but you can get creative and branch out

  • Buy fresh clippings from your local farmer's market.
  • Buy faux florals from hobby shops or interior decoration stores.
  • Craft paper flowers from crepe paper and other materials. (We recommend Paper to Petal by Thuss and Farrel for vibrant, whimsical creations.)
  • Buy some seeds to plant in a biodegradable carton and pot or plant them when they come to sprout.
  • Prune existing outdoor or indoor plants and save the blooms or cuttings in a decorative vase or simple mug.
  • Plant a tree in honor of a rehabilitative milestone. 
  • Volunteer at a local garden or nursery.

Another benefit of incorporating flowers into your rehabilitative space is that it enhances mood not just for the person trying to cultivate wellness in time of illness, injury, or trauma, but it also benefits the caregiver and other family members, friends, and visitors. These positive effects can supplement and support the rehabilitative journey for everyone. The effects are reciprocal and cyclical, and in my opinion, can even set the stage for more positive interactions, which aids the journey to healing and health. In many ways. it is like a self-fulfilling prophecy-with maybe an ounce of placebo effect. If we program our minds to the idea that flowers can and do enhance mood will positively influence our interactions with others, then they may very well just do that. 
If you're in the similar situation and are having trouble identifying plants on your property, I recommend the following websites: 


There is now even an app for that! Find Flowerchecker in your app store. 

All photos taken by me with the my Samsung S4 and the Cellex 3-1 Smartphone Lens Kit, which I purchased in the checkout aisle of Walmart. 

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