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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

A Bit of Chemistry

I have always been drawn to hydrangeas, possibly because I like any plant that has a long blooming cycle. I love to photograph these flowers. Even after they have died and have dried out they are beautiful. The tight clusters of blooms make them ideal for macro photography, as in the case above. This little cutie was actually taken in the greenhouse at Biltmore Gardens. Because of the lighting there is a perky look to this single bloom that makes it stand out from the rest. If you can call a flower "cute," I think I could describe this one that way. What is it about flowers that make them so appealing to us? Simply stated, they make us feel good. Seeing them apparently triggers our "happy brain" chemicals, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. The color and variety of flowers triggers dopamine, which generally makes us feel good. Flowers provide humans with a sense of social trust, which triggers oxytocin. For example, we often think of maternal attachment or group solidarity in relation to flowers ( most countries, states, and cities have adopted a flower to represent them.) And giving, receiving, growing, or simply admiring flowers, is linked psychologically to our healthy feelings of self-importance. This stimulates serotonin. In other words these social rituals act as anti-depressants. But we don't need to know the chemistry behind our love of flowers. Its message is really very simple. Someone wrote this about flowers: "A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."

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