Plants of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, has a rich history behind it. Celebrated in January or February each year, China goes on holiday, unlike the rest of the world, for seven days and 2019 celebrates the year of the pig. The pig is believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm and being hardworking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers and fruits hold special significance during Chinese New Year and symbolic plants and flowers are used to decorate homes in celebration. Just as the Chinese proverb say “花开富贵” – Blossom flowers bring wealth and prosperity. So, since the number 8 has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture, we’ve rounded up our top 8 luckiest fruits and flowers that are often gifted or used as decorations during Chinese New Year.

1. Orchids 

Orchids are delicate, beautiful and elegant flowers, and in China, they have long been considered to be symbolic of ‘many children’ or fertility and abundance. Orchids also signify refinement, luxury and innocence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Peonies 

Peonies in Chinese are called 牡丹 and they are most commonly known as 富貴花, which stands for “Flowers of Prosperity”, as they symbolise richness and peace, therefore it is one of the top choice in Chinese New Year. The peony has a double flower and that has led to a hidden meaning of a wish for repeated riches. This beautiful flower is associated with feminine beauty, innocence, affection, and charm. It is known as the ‘flower of riches and honour’. Red peonies are particularly auspicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Plums & Plum Blossoms

This group of fruits is symbolic of good luck, wealth, fortune, gold, prosperity and fertility. These serve as holy offerings in Buddhist temples and are also used in cooking, not to mention gifting among relatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The welcome blossoms of plum trees in late winter has made the plum tree a popular plant. It is one of the three friends of winter with the bamboo and the pine tree. As the flowers emerge before the leaves and it takes a long time to come into flower it is associated with longevity. It is often shown with a crane, another symbol of longevity. A popular pattern has plum blossom over cracked ice symbolizing Spring.

4. Bamboo

Bamboo is viewed as a symbol of traditional Chinese values. It is an example of the harmony between nature and human beings. Ancient Chinese people designated the plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum as the “four gentlemen”, and pine, bamboo and plum as the “three friends in winter”. People think its deep root denotes resoluteness; its tall, straight stem represents honor; its hollow interior modesty and its clean and spartan exterior exemplify chastity.

Ancient Chinese literature held bamboo in profound esteem. This explains why there are so many writings and paintings dedicated to the plant throughout history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Pussy Willows

In Chinese tradition, Pussy willow (银柳), also known as catkins is a signify the coming of Spring with growth and Prosperity. The appearance of their branches of fluffy, furry blossoms and tall height can also be related to growth and abundance of fortune.

6. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums, typically those in golden yellow or purple color are lucky flowers during Chinese New Year. They represent wealth, prosperity and longevity. If you are looking to improve your wealth luck and finance in the coming year, you can consider getting the golden chrysanthemums for your home.

7. Camellia

The camellia is native to China where it has a rich national history, particularly in the southwest region. Here, camellia flowers grow wild and during the early spring entire fields will be covered in colorful camellias. In China, the camellia represents the union between two lovers. The delicately layered petals represent the woman, and the calyx (the green leafy part of the stem that holds the petals together) represents the man who protects her. The two components are joined together, even after death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Hemerocallis

The species of lily most prized in China is the ‘Day Lily’ (Hemerocallis) whose blooms only last one day. The transitory nature of the flowers is said to help you forget your troubles. The grace and beauty are associated with foot binding as an Emperor extolled the virtue of the tiny feet in terms of ‘wherever she steps a lily flowers’ and so bound feet became termed ‘golden lilies’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the celebrations and …

Flower Garden Stories: Legendary Spring Flowering Bulbs and Plants

After an unusual spring and a glorious summer, its time to start thinking about autumn planting. Our full autumn range is now available for pre-order, ready for you to start thinking about what you’ll be planting this year for your spring 2019 display.

To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve taken a look at how these gorgeous flowers have been catching our eye for thousands of years. Many of the plants we sell to this day have origin stories in the myths and legends of ancient cultures. In Ancient Greece, everything from the sky to the tiny flowers of the earth had their own deity and mythology.

We’ve chosen six of our favourite plants and bulbs that earned a place in the stories of Ancient Greek mythology;

Narcissus

The story of Narcissus is one of vanity and, yes, narcissism.

The beauty of Narcissus was apparently so incomparable that his mother feared he would meet some tragic demise, but was consoled by a local seer that his life would be long and happy so long as he never recognised himself. Like most of these ancient prophesies, Naricissus’ fate came to pass when he fell madly in love with his own reflection and drowned trying to reach himself.

The beautiful Narcissi sprang up where he died, their delicate nodding heads hanging downwards presumably to admire their own reflection.

Anemone

Greek myth states that the Anemone was traditionally white, but was turned red by the death of Aphrodite’s lover Adonis. A similar connection is made to Jesus, who’s crucifixion in Christianity is often associated with the anemone when depicted in art.

Crocus

The story of Krokos in Greek myth depicts him as a young man who’s lover, the nymph Smilax, had died tragically. In his greif, Krokos prayed to the Olympians for mercy. The gods deemed to turn the man into a Crocus and his lover to an evergreen tree, so that the pair may live in each other’s company for eternity. The delicate crocus can often be found flowering in the shade of larger plants to this day.

 

Iris

The colourful, delicate Iris are supposedly named for the greek goddess of the same name. Iris, which means eye of heaven, would deliver the word of the gods to earth via a rainbow. It make sense that the flower would take this name for its rainbow of colours and unusual eyedrop markings.

Hyacinth

Another tragic love story of greek mythology was that of Hyacinth, a mortal who found himself in a love triangle with the sun god Apollo and Zephyrus, the western wind. When their quarrelling lead to his demise, Apollo’s tears burst into life as they hit the ground and bloomed into wonderful, fragrant Hyacinth.

Peony

This particular myth makes more sense in its own time. Paeon worked as a healer under the god Asclepius, who’s symbolism still inspires the medical industry with the Rod of Asclepius forming the logo of health organisations across the world. So talented was Paeon that Asclepius himself envied him, and the king of the gods himself was forced to intervene. In an effort to save the healer from his tutor, Zeus turned Paeon into the flower Paeony, which was in ancient times more widely used for its apparent medicinal properties.

Hopefully these have offered some inspiration to modern gardeners also, and right now you can shop our full autumn range online with our latest free gifts. Get planning!