Flower Power Now // People, plants and protest

As Trump makes his way into one of the most powerful offices in the world, we’re launching our own power play – FLOWER POWER NOW // #flowerpowernow – to coincide, more importantly, with the Women’s March on Washington and solidarity marches in London and elsewhere. Read all about the roots of our vision and the aims of our manifesto. Let’s FLOWER POWER these fools off their self-appointed, narcissistic (sorry narcissus) pedestals. Let’s do it NOW. Together.

It’s a historic day for America and for the world at large as the incoming US president, Donald Trump, is inaugurated into office. It’s also the eve of the Women’s March on Washington and hundreds of solidarity marches across the world, where  thousands of women are set to show protest in protection of their rights and anyone else who feels marginalised or fears being marginalised by the powers that be. In that same spirit, we’re sowing the seeds of our own personal manifesto – FLOWER POWER NOW – harnessing the combined power of woman/man and nature, fighting back with the tools that we [The Herbarium Project / Sonya Patel Ellis] possess and in the areas that we feel most passionate about: flowers, plants, words and pictures, and the over-riding sense that nature is bigger than us and that collectively we can make a difference.

FLOWER POWER NOW takes its roots from the Flower Power movement of the late 1960s but seeks to contemporise the vision. Use ‘Masses of flowers – a visual spectacle – especially concentrated in the front lines’ advocated Beat poet and activist Allen Ginsberg in his 1965 manifesto of protest for California’s Berkley Barb, a counterculture newspaper championing civil rights and anti-war movements. With those words the popular concept of ‘flower power’ was born. Defining moments include Bernie Boston’s ‘Flower Power‘ shot of a young, turtle-necked man placing carnations in the rifle barrels of military policemen at the 1967 Pentagon March in protest against the Vietnam War. A flower power generation quickly grew around the movement, resulting in hundreds of thousands of ‘flower children’ descending on San Francisco during the ‘Summer of Love’ that same year. Flower power as protest became part of a thick soup of floral shenanigans, heavy with drugs, vibrating with music, pulsating with psychedelic art. Oh yes, we would have loved to have been there.

BUT it’s time for an update. What does flower power mean now? How can we harness that super power again: the super power of plants and flowers, of the collective high. Our belief is that it lies in the combined power of people and plants. Working with nature, respecting its ultimate power to reclaim but also inspire, bring people together, cross borders and barriers, heal hearts and minds and bring happiness. What person, regardless of their creed or colour, doesn’t love flowers?

We often refrain from putting our thoughts and opinions out there too strongly, perhaps because we’re better at writing and making images than we are at speaking. We’re more adept than most at making thick soup with our vagrant, wandering minds. We love nothing better than ‘spinning that spoon’ and making light of the things we passionately believe in. But there’s too much going on now to just sit back and ignore it. We all need to do something. Take action. Do it doing what we do best.

So what does FLOWER POWER NOW actually mean? Here are the seeds of our manifesto. We’ll be wearing it loud and proud at the Women’s March in London tomorrow and we look forward to growing our vision. We hope you can join us.

FLOWER POWER NOW

  • Takes flower power into the future, starting now
  • Harnesses the combined power of people, plants and flowers
  • Urges people to take action in the face of political un rest and upheaval
  • Speaks for everyone – who doesn’t love flowers?
  • Brings people together through nature, crossing borders, barriers and belief systems
  • Respects nature’s ultimate power to reclaim
  • Encourages people to work with nature – find a way to incorporate it into your business model
  • Inspires people to look more closely at plants and flowers, to learn from them and protect them
  • Inspires people to take up pastimes that involve nature, to offset stress and bring forth greater happiness
  • Promotes those who personify FLOWER POWER NOW past and present, via more writing and artworks
  • Investigates the special role that women have played, through history, in promoting the many benefits of plants and flowers
  • Sows the seeds of collective action online (#flowerpowernow) and in person – let’s break the internet with botanicals
  • Tells the truth about people – ‘that we have more in common than that which divides us’
  • Educates our global youth in the ways of green-fingered action rather than taking arms against each other

That’s it for now. Trump and those who seek, like him, to divide us, are on their way in. They won’t win though. Let’s flower power them off their pedestals. Let’s do it now.

For regular updates subscribe to our botanical world and click through to our Flower Power Now series. Most up-to-date articles will also appear on our homepage and will be flagged up on Instagram (@theherbariumproject) and Twitter (@sonyapatelellis). Please do join us at our new dedicated hashtag #flowerpowernow