Flower Power! Florist reveals why stopping to smell the flowers really is good for us

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All the flowers in the book have a healing property of sorts. Some heal via emotion, or the energy that they inspire; others through their scent or medicinal properties. I have included traditional examples such as jasmine and mock orange, both of which are used in aromatherapy for their uplifting scents.

That flowers are beautiful no one can deny. And we have seen a sea of them in the past pandemic year; flowers sent to the sick, for bereavement, to thank those who have cared and today, of course, for Mother’s Day.

But florist Claire Bowen, a founding ambassador of the Sustainable Floristry Network who promotes environmental awareness within the industry, says there are more to flowers than meets the eye – or the nose.

They contain medicinal and healing properties as well as providing psychological benefits. Flower power is real – and Claire, 48, formerly of East Lothian – is ready to prove it. The floristry guru, who runs courses at her Oxfordshire business Honeysuckle & Hilda, has just launched a new book, The Healing Power Of Flowers.

“They can be used to show appreciation to someone who cares for someone else, be it mothers, Godmothers, or simply mother figures…pretty much everybody who looks out for anybody else. In times like these, we need them all more than ever.

“In a world where overconsumption contributes to widespread environmental problems, the simple act of giving flowers that have been sustainably sourced can be more meaningful than any lavish gift. Nature is fundamental to our wellbeing and if we honour her, we will be rewarded many times over.”

An expat Scot, Claire always has her homeland at heart. She said: “I always think of heather as an iconic Scottish plant. I went to prep school near the Eildon Hills in the Borders and the sight of them covered in heather has stayed with me. When my own mother died a few years ago, I made her funeral spray out of heather and thistles and native grasses, shaped to look like a Scottish moor. It truly represented her love for her country. She was a passionate Scot.


She told The Sunday Post: “I began writing in March last year, at the very beginning of the first lockdown. There is no doubt in my mind that flowers, and writing about them, brought me great comfort and I hope others will now draw some inspiration from them too.

“The giving of flowers has a long tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. Flowers feature in Celtic myth and Druid beliefs and in Chinese culture. I think it is rather wonderful that it is something we still do today, it shows what powerful messages flowers can convey.

“And I have listed 80 that grow in the UK that are suitable as gifts. We often think of them as a gesture of love, but they can also be given as an expression of consolation, joy, celebration, to calm, to console, to inspire success.

Claire Bowen, The Healing Power of Flowers

“The thistle is significant. It has been prevalent in Scottish heraldry for more than 500 years. The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, founded by James VII in 1687, is an order of chivalry awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to Scotland.”

Claire, one of the first female pupils at St Mary’s in Melrose that has turned out top international rugby players such as Arthur Dorward, Tom Elliot and John Jeffrey, and even played herself, said: “There is very little that invokes more emotion or pride in me than the sight of 15 men running on to a rugby pitch with thistles emblazoned on their shirts. Thistles didn’t actually feature in this book, but if they had they might have represented hope.”

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