Florist Lee Se-been recommends herbs that help alleviate stress. (From left) White lavender, pinnat lavender, apple mint, sweet basil and rosemary (Park Yuna/ The Korea Herald)
Spring has arrived even as COVID-19 continues to plague countries around the world. Although you may have to confine yourself at home and minimize social activities, there are still ways to get a taste of spring. One idea is ordering cut flowers or plants for home delivery, or stopping by a florist on your way home to pick up flowers for loved ones who are going through the “corona blues.”
Kim Seo-yoon, who runs Baum and Blum in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, says although the store’s sales have fallen 50 percent on-year due to the virus outbreak, some people still come by to buy a handful of flowers to refresh their minds.
“There are regular visitors to the shop seeking flowers for comfort,” Kim said.
The florist recommends freesia, one of the most popular cut flowers that bloom in spring.
“Freesias are loved for their pure colors. Bright yellow freesias will lift your mood,” Kim said. “Freesia’s scent is relatively strong compared to other flowers. And if you add a couple of German chamomiles and rosemary to a freesia bouquet, you can enjoy an earthy and herbal fragrance that may help you feel relaxed.”
Kim gave some tips on making cut flowers last longer in a vase.
“Before you put the flowers in a vase, I recommend you cut the bottom part of the stems on a 45-degree slant. Also, changing the water every day will help flowers stay fresh,” Kim said.
Florist Lee Se-been trims geraniums at Zien Shop in Yongin, Gyeonggi province. (Park Yuna/ The Korea Herald)
ZIEN in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, which has indoor and outdoor spaces, gets a steady stream of customers.
“Because the shop is in open space, many people come to buy flowers or for repotting,”said florist Lee Se-been, who has been working at ZIEN for two years. “We are quite busy in the afternoons with people who visit the shop wearing face masks.”
After the novel coronavirus hit the country, Lee began recommending fragrant herbs such as lavender, rosemary and mint to customers as soothing scents to help alleviate stress and promote a good night’s sleep.
“Herbal fragrance is wonderful in terms of healing your mind, and they are actually used for therapeutic purposes as well,” Kim said.
Fragrant herbs can also be used in cooking, which is perfect for people spending most of their time at home who want to try something new, she said.
“Apple mint is used in mojitos while lavender and rosemary go well with steak and pasta,” Kim said. “Fragrant herbs are perfect in terms of practicality.”
For novices at plant growing, Lee recommends geraniums because they are easy to take care of as long as they are watered sufficiently once a week, and they can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
Park Ga-hee, who lives in Jongno, central Seoul, has bought around 10 potted plants in the past two months to relieve anxiety about COVID-19. One is an Asplenium cv. Kenzoi, a member of the fern family.
“I have arranged the plants in my room, and whenever I see fresh green plants, I feel comforted,” Park said. “I do not go out as often as I used to, so I think this is a good way to get a sense of spring.”
Park Hyun-jin, who runs Iliana Flower in Busan, says Ranunculus Butterfly is the best choice if one wants to give flowers to loved ones to help them feel better amid the viral outbreak.
“Most customers ask what type of flower it is because of the elegant look of Ranunculus Butterfly. It has thin and silky petals that make them look as if they were sparkling,” Park said. “If I were given flowers as a gift, I would like to get Ranunculus Butterfly.”
Florist Park Hyun-jin holds up a basket of flowers that includes yellow and red Ranunculus Butterfly. (Provided by Park Hyun-jin)
Ji Seung-hee, vice president of the Korea Flower Academy, suggests picking up narcissus for yourself -- the flower’s slogan is, appropriately, “loving yourself.”
“We are all exhausted at this moment and feeling down. However, flowers have the effect of healing people’s minds,” Ji said. “In terms of the symbolic meaning of the flower, narcissus will be a good gift to yourself to cheer up.”
By Park Yuna (firstname.lastname@example.org