Monday, June 05, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 15, 1444 H
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Flowering in the desert...

We can learn from flower cultivation not only about the time of year flowers bloom, how long they flower for

From desert rose, Abyssinian rose, or Arabian jasmine, the mountainous and valley areas of Oman are rich with colourful wildflowers. Lavender is one of my favourites for its intense yet delicate fragrance. Several varieties of flowers may be found in different parts of the country, each with a unique ability to endure.

Flowers are symbols of abstract concepts. The soft lacy petals, intricate symmetry, and delicate rugged rims are not just beautiful; they are used in decoration, courtship and ceremonies, and in nature, they play a role in the world’s ecosystem.

From topics such as love, birth, remembrance, hope, and even rejection, there is communication in a science that encompasses one of the broadest varieties of field studies. When we give someone a floral arrangement, we are communicating information – either an expression of ‘thank you’, an apology, or a demonstration of appreciation. And please refrain from giving mixed plastic flower arrangements!

Better than any media designer or content creator, flowers are natural communicators. It draws attention due to its colour, shape, scent and texture. Timing is crucial in communication, and understanding when to be silent is just as crucial as knowing when to speak. We may learn from flower cultivation not only about the time of year flowers bloom, how long they flower for, and how they stop working once their purpose has been served, but also about their structures, behaviours and physiological characteristics.

Floriography, “the language of the flowers,” has cultural connotations, as the classic red rose is one of the most obvious symbols of romantic love. In the same line, other values can be said, and one of them is represented in the song Flowers by pop star Miley Cyrus, which has been the most streamed song for weeks, representing independent women. In art and literature, the meaning of flowers is linked to cultural and social contexts.

Buying fresh, locally cultivated flowers is one of the pleasures I have during the winter months; I wish they could be available all year round. The selection is excellent considering we are talking about a country classified as arid.

Each week, I like to buy a different kind of flower to decorate my house. On my way home from the street market - yes, occasionally, we do have a street market - I often give a rose or two to waitresses working in the nearby restaurants. The gesture makes them happy, and me too. Flowers are a powerful emotion ‘inducer’ according to the academic article An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. The article suggests that flowers have ‘immediate and long-term effects on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviour, and memory for both males and females.’

The flower cultivation industry has mostly no other purpose than emotional and, therefore, commercial. There are flowers used for religious purposes, personal adornment, or for their essences, which are used in the form of perfumes, as well as in the cosmetic, health and food industries.

Another aspect of the flower’s importance is its use in education, particularly for people with visual impairment, as seen in the Spanish short video The Colours of Flowers, also in the Iranian film The Colour of Paradise, and the Italian film Red Like The Sky – they are examples of ‘seeing the world’ as a life lesson.

The established commercial farming in the country, the millions of rials worth of imported flowers (including plastic ones), or the ‘operation’ of fresh vegetables and fruits are not part of the scope of this article. Though earning a living from the production of fresh flowers could be a possibility, as we have seen from the growing number of greenhouses throughout the country; on a small scale, the cultivation of flowers is picking up as a sideline process as the diverse climates across Oman make it possible. Say it with flowers.

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