There is no doubt that flowers brighten a room – or anyone’s day, but flowers are more than just a pretty face. They have a long history of use beyond the wedding bouquet or the “I’m sorry,” offering. The next time you find yourself perusing the flower cases at the florist, consider these ways to add flowers to your life.
1. Eat them!
Nasturtiums in the salad, rose petals in the soup, pansies on the potatoes (OK, maybe not on the potatoes). Cooks have been using flower petals and blossoms for years to enhance dishes. Squash blossoms are often picked while they are still tightly formed and then they can be stuffed with herbal cheeses and baked or fried. According to the Energy Times, many flowers contain nutrients such as Vitamin A, C and beta-carotene.
2. A Spot of Tea
Flowers like Bee Balm, Jasmine and Chamomile, have been used to make tea for centuries. Other flowers like Marigolds and Rosebuds add flavour and health benefits to your tea. Make up an iced tea with your favourite herbs and flowers for a beautiful summer day drink.
3. Natural Dyes
Instead of using commercial or chemical dyes to make that cool tie-dye shirt, dye your yarn or make a craft, try using flowers instead. Yarrow, saffron and golden rod have been used traditionally to make yellow dyes. Hollyhocks can make all sorts of coloured dyes – depending on their colour and lilacs and onions can be used as well. The best way to dye something with flowers is to gather your blossoms at full bloom. Then chop them up and add them to boiling water. Allow them to boil and then simmer for about an hour, according to Pioneer Thinking and then you can add your fabric, yarn or whatever. Remember to wash your dyed fabrics in cold water only and separately from other laundry – at least the first few times!
Flowers have been used medicinally for thousands of years, according to the University of California at Riverside. Chamomile, Hops, Echinacea, Yarrow, Wormwood, Feverfew – all can help different conditions. Chamomile is great for soothing upset stomachs and can be used in a poultice to soothe cuts and bruises. Arnica can treat pain topically and Echinacea can fight viruses and bacterial infections as well as boost the immune system.
5. Beauty Products
The scents and effects off flowers can be used to enhance beauty products like soaps, creams, lotions and more. Calendula, more commonly known as the Marigold, for example, has been used to treat sunburns, warts, eczema, gastritis and many other conditions, according to HerbWisdom.com.
Flowers – in particular, dried flowers – pair perfectly with citrus or other scents to give cleaning products a boost. The Frontier Coop lists a recipe for a sink scrub made from one cup of baking soda, one tablespoon of salt and ¼ cup of rose petals. Pulverize them in a blender, add a little water to wet it down and then use to scrub.
Fresh and dried flowers look beautiful when pressed into the wax of a freshly made candle. If you are hand rolling a beeswax candle, you can place a flower stem or two in the sheet and then roll it in. If you are moulding candles, add blossoms as you go to the wax itself or press them into the outside of the candle once you release them from the mould. If you don’t want to make candles, simply place your dried or fresh blossoms onto a piece of wax paper, pour a little melted wax over them and then roll your candles over the wax and flowers to decorate the sides.
Dried and fresh flowers can be sprinkled directly in a bath to enhance the experience. Aromatherapy can do wonders either directly or when combined with a soap or bath bomb.
9. Colour Therapy
According to The Language of Flowers:
“The power of colours in flowers can stimulate our senses making us calm, energised, contented, determined, optimistic and spiritual.” Flowers have different colours and meanings and a combination of them can affect our mood and our energy levels. Red, according to The Language of Flowers, “stimulates vitality” and represents “strength, willpower and determination.”
Choose colours that not only appeal to you, but find out what different colours and flowers mean – they might affect you more than you think.
10. Make Cool Stuff
Dried or fresh flowers can be made into beautiful wreaths, pressed onto paper for distinctive stationary or added to a drawer to make your delicates – or jeans – smell fresher. Add dried flowers to a knitting project or create sachets for friends. Flowers make a great gift in any form.
11. Make Confetti
If you have flowers that are on their last legs, have some fun with them. Make petal confetti. The Paper & Stitch Blog touts this as a great, eco-friendly way to celebrate…anything!