Despite being a lifelong gardener, there is always a seed of doubt in my mind that says, "that tiny seed you are planting in the soil will never grow." Maybe that notion is reinforced, because sometimes it’s true. But then there are sunflowers, which rarely disappoint as they break through the soil within days, and shoot up to the sky like Jack's beanstalk did.
That instant gratification is so rewarding and excites me to continually go outside and see what has happened next in the seed's journey. The wobbly sprout adds leaves and within days, that stem turns into a sturdy stalk. Seemingly overnight, a head appears at the top, its face covered by scrunched up green petals. The lone flower holds its head high and tilts toward the sun, just as I do when I step outside on the first warm day of spring.
The magical part comes when I return home later in the day to find the sunflower has rotated its head to now face the west, as if to watch the sunset. By morning, it has turned again to greet the rising sun. Intrigued as to how and why it does that day after day, I looked to science to find an answer.
According to researchers, young sunflower plants sun-tracking behavior (also called heliotropism) is due to their circadian rhythms-the behavioral changed tied to an internal clock that humans also have, which follow a roughly 24 hour cycle.
Each of us has a circadian rhythm- a natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavior changes that our bodies go through over a 24-hour period. These rhythms are affected by light and darkness, and are controlled by our brains. They can affect how we sleep, our body temperature, hormones, appetite and many other functions.
Could it be that modern day living has disrupted our natural circadian rhythm that once was in sync with nature? Does forcing ourselves to wake to the jolt of an alarm or exposing ourselves to light from screens long after the sun has set throw our body so out of whack that we are jeopardizing our health and well-being? Studies have indeed demonstrated this.
The sunflowers story doesn't end with its dance with the sun. Soon their green petals unfurl, and then they extend their bright yellow petals like rays of the sun. Pollinators of all types indulge on the smorgasbord of pollen and nectar in the center. Within days, yet another transformation occurs-the uncovering of tightly knit seeds as the flower petals begin to wilt and fade; seeds that we may munch on, birds will dine on or maybe they will be the next generation of sunflowers for us all to enjoy.
Reflecting on this dynamic show, which occurs over just a few weeks, causes me to pause and appreciate that what we need to bloom can be found in nature.
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Welcome to our new series, the magic of flowers.
Aren't flowers magical? They walk with us down the aisle when we get married, they sit beside us on the hospital bedside table when we aren't feeling well, and they even surround and drape our coffin when we have passed on and our loved ones celebrate our lives.
Flowers have the ability to draw us in and become fully connected to the present moment, creating a boundary to all our past and future thoughts. Flowers inspire awe and wonder. They are a reminder that a force other than us is at work. Watch how a flower slowly unfolds without any help from us. Sure we may plant the seed and water it, but it does all the rest in what seems like an effortless way, unhurried, in sync with the pace of the Universe in the same way that a surfer is able to catch and ride a wave. It does so in such a way we don't even see it move, but eventually it unfolds into its most magnificent state.
Flowers are shipped from all over the world-California, roses from South America, gorgeous blooms coming from Holland, that is how much they essential to our lives. How many of us have become somewhat complacent about the presence and meaning flowers hold in our existence and they joy they bring to it?
In this series, The Magic of Flowers, we are going to look at some ways that we may want to more consciously incorporate flowers into our lives so we can tap into the magic they offer during this turbulent time. As we attempt to emerge from the Covid-19 Pandemic that that has left many of us traumatized, grieving or searching for new meaning and connection, couldn't we all use a little magic and support?
So, let's start this series by talking about Art in Bloom. Art in Bloom is a pairing of floral arrangements created by florists that further express what is already present in works of art at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The annual event has completed for 2021 so there won't be any spoiler alerts. This is, however, an opportunity to see one way that we can link this magic of flowers into our lives.
Here are a few of the artistic arrangements and some of the artists statements on their interpretation of their creations in relation to the art. As you look at these, perhaps it will spark an idea in you. Maybe this is something your community could do at your local art museum, or at school in art class, or perhaps you have a painting in your home that you would like to create a floral arrangement to coincide with?
Tap into the magic and see where it takes you!
Would you like to see more of the Art In Bloom creations? Follow us on social media @TheNatureNurse where we will post more pictures. We hope you feel inspired and will connect with flowers in a new way. Subscribe to this blog so you don't miss the next blog in our The Magic Of Flower series.
"We sit in the mud...and reach for the stars." - Ivan Turgenev
The thrill of spring is upon us. Rivers roar, bursts of green in every shade emerge from the earth, and birdsong plays amongst the trees.
We don't want to miss this energy, and show, just because of a little mud, do we? Throw on some boots and head outside. Go ahead- get a little muddy, splash in a puddle. It can be fun and invigorating.
You don't have boots for the mud? Let's take a look at three of my favorite, which are popular amongst other nature lovers as well.
Merrell Hiking Boots
Sturdy, thick soled, and waterproof, these are my favorite boots to play outside in, especially if there is rocky terrain or hard surfaces. They absorb the shock well. If they get muddy, just let it dry and wipe it off.
Lowa Hiking Boots
Great ankle support and lightweight so they make walking on trails enjoyable. Go ahead, walk through that muddy section or across the wood bridge covered in water, your feet will stay nice and dry.
Created in the 1800's by the first Duke of Wellington, "wellies" have withstood the test of time. These rubber boots have gone far beyond the United Kingdom. They come in classic, solid colors, or fun patterns. Easy to slip on and hose off.
So don't just sit there in the mud, go ahead and walk in it, play in it, under the stars.
Want to learn more about how engaging with nature can help enhance your health, well-being, and add more joy into your life? Subscribe to our e-newsletter on our home page.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has made one thing very clear, the healthier we are; the more likely we can fight disease. A study estimated that nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. could be attributed to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure. Each of these non-communicable diseases contributes to inflammation in the body, which added fuel to the Coronavirus fire. They can be prevented, or potentially reversed for most of us, with a healthy lifestyle.
Eating clean fruits, and vegetables, is an essential part of any healthy diet. The best way to ensure that we have access to pesticide-free, organic produce is to grow it ourselves.
I don't have room.
I don't know how.
I don't have time.
These are all legitimate concerns for many of us today. Let's take a look at how we can at least grow some of our own food.
1. Grow Microgreens
Micorgreens are nutrient-dense powerhouse plants. They grow quickly, in a small amount of space, indoors or outdoors. They are tasty, and easy to use on salads, sandwiches or in smoothies. Take a look at this system I trialed. What I like most about this option is that it was easy and didn't make a mess. Maybe it will work for you.
2. Aquaponic Growing
Growing plants in water is a quickly growing trend. These systems are being used on city rooftops, college campuses and homes. Take a look at what is entailed in aquaponic growing. Video
What I like most about this option, it offers healthy greens all the time.
You can even get an aquaponic garden that also serves as a fishtank!
3. Grow in Hanging Baskets, Containers, or a Small Raised Bed.
If you have access to sun and water, you can grow some food, even if it is just herbs. Check out all the resources on the Healthy Green Thumbs™ page. You'll find a year- long series of newsletters, videos, tips and resources to help you grow plants, including many produce options, so you can enhance your health and well-being. The shopping page on The Nature Nurse™, PLLC website includes some items that may help you as well. SHOP NOW
Change occurs one bite at a time. Spring is a time of renewal, so why not try something new and grow some of your own food? Your body will thank you.