Flower Power for Challenging Times

Roses on my DIY buffet in our former condo

Hello my dears!

It's been awhile since I wrote here as my husband Steve and I have been tweaking our little home to maximum-cottage-coziness lately and we have been very happily and deeply engrossed in that. But before I get to the details of our latest home shenanigans in a future post, I'd like to chat with you today about flower power.

Coronado Island, CA Flower Show exhibit

I'm a big believer in flowers to heal, nurture, and simply bring joy to us as human beings. Think about how much they are woven into everyday life of every culture.

Alas, it's admittedly a tough time for the floral industry right now, all over the world, and my heart kindly goes out to those bringers-of-beauty-businesses. I really miss having "real live" flowers in our home, but after reading this and discussing it, we have personally decided, ever since the pandemic began, not to buy live fresh flowers for our home right now. That's a personal decision every one must make for themselves during this time I think, and I wish you wisdom in your decision.

That being said, Steve and I have always found ways to incorporate flowers into our life and home, even if they are not real live flowers. Especially when we lived in harsh Midwestern winters many years ago we found that surrounding ourselves with colorful floral everything helped take the edge off of sub-zero snowy windy winters. It was always summer in our house that way!

I call this simply "flower power" and you can do this in your life too if you wish.

Here's a "flower power flashback" from my old scrapbook ...

Flower power in the 1990s!

Not too long after these photos were taken I was invited to attend an Ikebana event in Omaha and a whole new beautifully unique floral world opened up to me! Ikebana is the gorgeous art of Japanese floral arrangements that are sculptural in nature and have different "schools." According to this article, Ikebana is making a comeback again. If you have never experienced Ikebana, Google it for your city and you're in for a flowery treat! Steve and I hope to visit the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix one day in the future since we live here now and I see they offer an Ikebana class too.

At the time of these now-vintage photos above, we were easing into our overall "flower power" lifestyle as young marrieds, so we attended the Countryside Village and Rockbrook Village art fairs every year in Omaha which began our collection of small and affordable floral paintings by local artists. (Like the painting above that almost matches my dress and NO, that wasn't planned!) After the art fairs in Omaha, we used to have lunch at The Garden Cafe which has changed a bit since then by their current website, but their menu still looks similar and their food is amazing! It was a fixture in the community back then and it still looks charmingly cute.

Google "art fair" in your city and see what you come up with -- most shows are cancelled now due to the pandemic but many are offering videos or photos online and you can find floral artists you relate to and order from their websites. I love to support local artists and art fairs are a great way to create a unique original art collection for modest prices.

Framed floral greeting cards in our Omaha home

On a really tight decorating budget? Frame floral greeting cards in discount-store frames from places like Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Tuesday Morning. This is a fun way to dollarwise decorate with flowers!

Thrift-store floral plates on our apartment soffit

Or, use thrift store floral china plates displayed on plate stands like I did here.

Where there's a will, there's a dollarwise decorating way, so why not make your home bloom?!

I love books about flowers too, don't you?! It was around this same 1990's time period too that I learned of author and interior designer Alexandra Stoddard, and her lovely books on integrating beauty and flowers into your home and life made a wonderfully positive impact on my life. I heard Alexandra speak in 1994, and later she invited me and Steve to visit for her Happiness Weekend at her home in CT which was great fun as you can see below. My favorite book of hers is Living a Beautiful Life. And be sure to take a look at Alexandra's new blog-style website as she shows pix of her beautiful blue hydrangea garden at her cottage.

Me in Alexandra Stoddard's living room, 2006

Me and Steve in Alexandra's writing room
Alexandra at the Inn at Stonington, CT

And here's a little more floral-food-for-thought ...

Why Flowers Make Us Happy

An interesting article in Psychology Today mentions the scientific reasons why flowers make us happy. (But you knew that!)

Brighten Up Your Meals With Edible Flowers!

Edible flowers are so colorful and elegant, don't you think?

The Health Benefits of Flowers

So true.

Southern CA years ago

Flowers I Use to Help With Fear (and Other Emotions)

I have been using the Bach Flowers called Aspen and Mimulus, as needed, ever since I began studying Bach Flowers in 2003 in San Diego County from Learn Homeopathy Now. Their classes are now available online via CD and they sell small kits of Bach Flowers as well that come in a pretty floral-print fabric case. I put Bach flower drops in my tea, coffee, and water bottle and I find them to be elegantly simple, subtle, and very effective.

My favorite books about Bach Flowers are this one, this one, and this one.

Quick Reference Guide of the 38 Bach Flowers and their uses.

I buy my Bach Flowers here now. They are available for sale individually too by searching the name of a certain remedy.

Sometimes I put several flower remedies in a big water jug and then just pour a bit of that water in my tea, coffee, or water glass during the day from the big (labeled) jug. Easy.

I also used to put Bach Flower Remedies in my late kitties' water bowls and then smiled watching them gently and safely get out of their snit. :)

Bach Flowers for animals. And just for cats.

Beau loved Monique. Bach Flowers helped her tolerate him. :)
They liked flowers too!

It's Scientifically Proven That Flowers Make You Feel Better

Fascinating article with real-life stories about flowers in the time of Covid.

NEWS ALERT! Georgianna Lane has the most amazing flower website, books, and photographs I've ever seen! Enjoy! And you can purchase items directly from her site too.

Also, Jackie from York Avenue has beautiful New York City floral "photo essays" and other cities too in photographs.

Retreat at Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA

I remember reading a story some time ago about how during World War II, even though their suits might be threadbare due to tough economic times, Italian men still put a flower in their suit lapel as a sign of dignity-during-poverty. I never forgot that story after all these years, and with all the economic losses* for many people during the pandemic, I think it's a wise idea. And although most men don't wear suits very often anymore, but how about a little flower in your baseball cap, guys?! Don't laugh; this gentlemenly-link addresses flowers and manliness and even some football players are on board!

*BTW, my favorite down-to-earth money book, Orchids on Your Budget, will show you how to spend and save smart so you can afford flowers on your budget! It was written during the Great Depression and is entertaining, wise, and great fun to get ideas for how the author and her people in the book lived well on a budget in NYC during that time.

Fresh flowers pre-Covid in our AZ living room
Driving by these beautiful AZ wildflowers was free!

Flowers bring humans hope, joy, and happiness. And color. And elegance. So if you don't feel comfortable buying fresh flowers during this time, for health safety, because of your lowered Covid budget, or for whatever reason, you can still surround yourselves with flowers by wearing your favorite floral top that you already have, having a cup of floral tea, and wrapping yourself up in a cozy floral quilt while you drink it out of a pretty floral mug. Light my favorite little silk floral orchid too for a little nighttime ambiance and put it in your bathroom so you don't have to shower in the dark. :)

Use your floral imagination, my dears -- you can do it in a way that works for your home, life, and budget.

Another Real Life Example: When we had to evacuate our home for a week in 2007 due to California wildfires, I grabbed our cozy floral quilts and a little silk flower arrangement to take with us as we quickly put things in our car. Having them in our hotel room was comforting during a tough time.

I used a teapot as a flower vase and thrift store china to set this table in our former condo.

BTW, look what this flower-angel-designer has gifted to NYC during the pandemic! Wow. Wow. Wow! I don't know Lewis Miller, but I just want to hug him for doing this around NYC! And I love his floral company's motto of "in constant pursuit of beauty." Me too.

Although most of us are not traveling right now, we can all recall happy travels from our past and also research and plan ahead for better travel days. When Steve and I travel, we always seek out gardens and flowers. I have my camera ready! And we can all find right now virtual garden tours to enjoy. My personal flower dream would be to visit The Chelsea Flower Show in London and Monet's Gardens in France. Since that's not possible in person, let's enjoy it together virtually here and here.

Bring back your own flower memories! Steve and I have been to many of the La Jolla, CA Garden Tours and the Coronado Flower Shows, and while sadly all these are cancelled this year in person, at least it's fun to think back on those happy memories we made together via our photos. We also loved San Diego's Art Alive! too which expresses famous paintings in the form of flower arrangements -- so neat! Thanks to technology, at least we can all enjoy Art Alive! virtually this year.

When we moved to Arizona in 2018, one of our first garden outings was the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. What a treat! Their garden gift shop is amazing and although it's closed now due to the pandemic, Gertrude's restaurant there is wonderful. This garden was a nice change from California and Nebraska flowers, (those are beautiful too!), which are totally different than AZ cactus flora, of course.

Me ready for an Omaha garden tour mid-1990s.
La Jolla Secret Garden Tour, California
Our Master Bedroom is blooming now!

Where can you get your (safe-during-the-pandemic) "flower power fix" where you live now, or virtually?

How about in your own home!?

More on our current bedroom floral updates later. We re-decorated our bedroom a little bit recently just for our own happiness and health, not for a magazine photo shoot, so we just had fun with it. I will say that my favorite floral find for it was the new canvas painting Garden Devotion II hanging over our bed. It's 40x40" so it's BIG and I chose that size purposely in lieu of a headboard. It was on sale for only $50 at Wayfair in case you love it too. That's not a typo! I thought it was a typo when I saw the painting on other sites for up to $300. Dollarwise decorator me, I loved getting this for $50; that gives me a thrill!

My wardrobe looks like a garden, too.

How about putting on your favorite floral top today?

Stretchy, for me, is best. :) But wear what feels good to you, of course.

I use floral old-school hankies and a floral mask.

My favorite floral hankies that I use daily also make a great gift, and I wear a thick floral mask too.

From our cozy floral Arizona home to yours ...

I send you you virtual flowers, hugs, love, and hope during this challenging pandemic time.

"He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3

“God is in all creatures, even in the smallest flowers.” — Martin Luther

Kathryn :)









© Kathryn Bechen 2020




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