Dating yourself is the new dating someone else.

There have been times when someone gave me fresh flowers as a gift and I’ve thought to myself, “Ugh. Something else I need to take care of?”

But then I’ve also had moments where I have driven past neighbors’ homes with their perky garden beds and hanging planters and (cue sad Charlie Brown music ) felt a mix of jealousy/sadness/inadequacy. Because when it really comes down to it, flowers are… nice.

When I turned 40 last fall, I made a list of 40 intentions/goals for the year to come. One of the first ones that came to mind was to have more fresh flowers in my life. During the winter, that meant adding a bouquet to my weekly grocery delivery or in-store shopping trip. And now that patio season is here, it means not letting the marigolds my kids bought at the school plant sale wither sorrowfully in the pot in a short week’s time (Oh… I need to PLANT them. In the GROUND.)

The way I’ve been able to make this happen is to combine this intention with another goal on my list: meditation/mindfulness. It’s not easy for me to slow down, even for a few minutes, but I was reminded of a tip I researched for a magazine article last year that basically said taking a moment each day to stop and care for plants is therapeutic (it helps knowing that my English ivy won’t ever stomp its foot and say “No!” when I attempt to give it water, unlike other living things I care for on a daily basis).

Want to harness some of the flower power for yourself? Try these bloom picks and mood-boosting tips.

C’mon get happy

It’s hard to have a blue day when something saffron’s afoot. Treat yourself to a Jet fresh flower delivery of posh yellow buttercup roses or friendly yellow daisies. Make mini-arrangements to put around your home in vases, Mason jars, or tumbler glasses.

TIP: I’ve started keeping a caddy packed with garden clippers, watering can, and plant food beneath my kitchen sink. Every two days, I turn on my favorite music and make caring for my fresh flowers into a relaxing time-out experience.

From the ground up

If you want to try planting something outside now, try Dahlias, “Peppermint Schnapps” Hibiscus, or Gauras which bloom mid- summer through early fall. But whether you’re a backyard-less apartment-dweller or just hate getting down and dirty in the grass (like me), container gardening offers lots of creative possibilities. Plant in a colorful pot, a patio planter,  or a hanging basket, or use a windowbox under a window, beneath a patio rail, or as a table centerpiece.  On my wish list this summer is a plant screen that can be used as a backdrop or room divider with potted plants moved around the grid.

TIP: In a sunny nook inside your home or on an outdoor deck or balcony, create an oasis where you can surround yourself with nature. Make an effort to escape there at least once a day to do something you love like write in your journal, enjoy your morning coffee, or read.

The life of the party

Planning a graduation dinner, birthday barbecue, or summer wedding? Have fun with fresh cut petals, orange lilies, or Baby’s Breath.  Check out Pinterest for decorating ideas like floral chandeliers and floating candle centerpieces.

TIP: Share your blooms with your guests for a double dose of cheer. For summer, I love the idea of arranging pink and white carnations in old-fashioned ice cream glasses with a cherry on top. Line them across the table as a centerpiece during the party, then send them home with guests as a parting gift.

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