There's nothing like growing something from a small seed into a thing of beauty. The folks at Mrs. Meyer's agree, and think it could actually spread kindness and compassion. That's why they created a new hybrid flower and are teaching school children about the joys of gardening.
Gardening has a longstanding place at the company. "Our products' fragrances have always been inspired by our namesake, Mrs. Meyer's, Midwest garden and made with essential oils from flowers and herbs," says Helms. "Thelma Meyers always claimed herself a better gardener than a housekeeper and instilled in her children and grandchildren the values of growing your own foods and flowers as a way to get your hands dirty and make something wonderful."
Called the Compassion Flower, the new species is a cross between a pansy (which means 'to think of' or 'to consider') and a spreading viola, and is meant to "represent that one act of kindness can spread, just like the flower itself."
With the goal to literally grow compassion, the company has partnered with schools to teach kids about gardening, yes, but also spreading kindness and understanding in the world.
When it came to the nitty gritty of creating a hybrid flower, the process can take seven to ten years, according to Dr. Marvin Miller, Research Manager for Ball Horticultural Company. "It starts with breeding goals... and from there we play matchmaker of sorts, pairing parent plants together and looking for the best characteristics from each parent. Then it's a matter of trial and error with traditional breeding techniques, which includes taking many notes on results of each pairing."
Thankfully, after all that work, anyone can enjoy the Compassion Flower, no matter where you live. " Since pansies prefer cooler temperatures, southern regions usually enjoy pansies as winter flowers. As the season progresses, early-spring baskets and gardens are full of pansies in the northern portions of the country and into Canada. Coastal climates can usually enjoy pansies year-round as they're more temperate locations," Miller says.
"The Compassion Flower has delicately sweet and fresh floral notes that stem from the Spreading Viola in our hybrid flower," says Pam Helms, VP of Research and Development for Mrs. Meyer's. "It's a lighter, modern version of what people may know as violet."
As for the project, Helms says, it's "an initiative to teach kids how kindness can be nurtured and grown, and we wanted to instill the idea that kindness or compassion is a good habit that you can practice every day, just like good hand washing. We've made compassion something kids can see, smell and share. We wanted to create a symbol for an emotion that will always be valued and sought after."
From now until May 19, Mrs. Meyer's is including Compassion Flower seeds along with all online orders.