The curtains of 2016 has risen and our spirits are soaring, giddy with excitement with all the preparations and the planning for the year’s coming events especially the much vaunted Royal FLORIA Putrajaya (RFP).
Magic is stirring in the air as we are about to embark on this enchanting journey with the magnificent, ubiquitous and aptly entrancing theme flower - Chrysanthemum aka “Garden Mums”.
The story of Mums is as colourful as the flower itself with inspired poets’ churning out stanzas extolling its beauty as well as culinary gastronomic pursuits. Mums were cultivated systematically as early as the 15th century in China for its culinary herbal purpose - petals and young shoots for salads and flowers and leaves brewed into tea.
Chinese classical poet Yuan Zhen sums up the Mums best in this verse:
Autumn clusters surround my home just like Tao Yuanming’s.
I walk full circle round the fence as the sun slowly tilts.
Its not that I love Chrysanthemum more than the other flowers,
But no others will bloom after these blooms wither
…eulogising the ever loyal and present Chrysanthemum flowers.
The Mums was introduced to the western world in the 17th century and got its name as we all know today from the renowned Swedish naturalist and Father of Modern Taxonomy – Carolus Linnaeus, who combined 2 Greek words “Chrysos” meaning golden which referred to the original colour of the flower and “anthemom” meaning flower. The taxonomy or classification for Chrysanthemum Flowers is as follows:
Kingdom : Plantae
Division : magnolia phyta
Class : Magnoilopsides
Order : Asterales
Family : Asteraceae (daisy)
(one of the largest families of flowering plants in the Botanical World )
Genus : Chrysanthemum (1000)
Species : Morifolli (20,000)
Mums comes in all shapes, sizes and variety of colours - from the common daisy-like yellow blooms to the more exotic pompons and buttons with hues of red, purple, golden bronze to white and every other shade in between. The chrysanthemum is actually a bloom of hundreds of tiny flowers, known as florets, each a cluster made up of many flowers in disk form surrounded by rings of ray flowers.
Mums thrive best in a slightly acidic soil of pH6.5 that drains well with loads of organic matters, though compost is best. Place the plants in an area that receives lots of sunlight. To gain finest blooms, fertilise when the plants are ready to bloom, use fertilisers with N-P-K ratio of 5.10.5 and cease when flower buds begins to form. The great thing about this magnificent flower is its ability to bloom like clock-work. Easily grown from roots, cuttings or seeds, they usually starts to flower about 100 days after sowing and has a long flowering period.
Apt for container gardening, a popular home landscape plant due to its colourful and long lasting blooms, it is best suited as border plants to highlight any entrance-way it graces.
Chrysanthemum flowers are steeped in symbolism in many cultures. Generally it symbolised long life, fidelity, joy and optimism with red conveying love, white expressing truth and loyalty and yellow articulating slighted love.
The Mums are revered especially amongst the Japanese as it is the symbol of their Imperial Royal Seal, they even dedicate a day - National Chrysanthemum Day, commemorating an ancient festival, known as Festival of Happiness, honouring the bloom. And Malaysian Chinese would decorate their homes with it during the Lunar New Year as the bright yellow bears resemblance to the colour of gold, thus symbolising prosperity and wealth.
Revere, honour, admire, savour or even ingesting it, the chrysanthemum is truly versatile and ubiquitous, a bloom worthy to be celebrated and we invite you to celebrate and revel it this 27th May – 4th June 2016 at the 2016 Royal FLORIA Putrajaya.
Useful links on Chrysanthemum flowers:
Original Article By:
Puan Siti Zakiah Mohamad, Landscape Architect.