Saturday, November 05, 2011

Huang Shan Chrysanthemum Fields

Chrysanthemum Field in Huang Shan China

While driving through the Huang Shan, China area we saw fields of white flowers being harvested.  These are the chrysanthemum fields, the flower picked for an herbal tea.  Chrysanthemum tea is slightly sweet and the pretty blossoms make for a lovely and aromatic cup.  I had chrysanthemum tea today at the Chinese Garden, a fitting place to reflect upon my travels.

Chrysanthemum Tea with Goji Berries

Through the end of the month, the Chinese Garden and Portland Chrysanthemum Society are hosting a display of prize-winning blossoms.  They are lovely, which you can see for yourself below.  I learned that along with the plum, orchid and bamboo, chrysanthemum is one of the "Four Honorable Plants" of China.

Chrysanthemum is also known as "Autumn Flower."

"In most ancient essays and poems, writers use the terms "jade bone, icy body, pearl petal and red heart" to describe the flower. For on cold autumn days, when all other flowers were fading away, only the chrysanthemum was able to flourish in the cold winds. The combination of beauty with strong character made an ideal personality in the eyes of romantic Chinese scholars."  From FML tea trading company

Along Prefect Tao’s fence, As autumn comes, the chrysanthemums colour and bloom. From a forest of a thousand jade-green leaves, With golden scissors, cut a flowering stem. Chasing the buds makes the bee's beard messy; Bravely following, the butterfly's wings are aflutter. Carrying the fragrance, the breeze wafts through the greenness. Tranquil shadows play across the window. Resolutely wavering, the frosty hues, Fresh and graceful, flowers open to the sun. Such scent and beauty were seen at Pengze, What higher praise is there than this?
A song of chrysanthemums by Gong Chengyi of the Tang, written in the style of Mi Fu.

Before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
a moment.

Yosa Buson, translated by Robert Hass


The rose is called the queen of flowers,
          Surrounded by her sisters fair,
          A lovely throng of beauties rare,
She holds her court 'mid summer bowers,
          'Neath smiling skies of sunny blue,
          Gayly they bloom the summer through
Brightening all the golden hours.
          But when the autumn days have come
          Then blooms our sweet Chrysanthemum.
As we watch the summer days depart
          And the painted leaves in silence fall,
          And the vines are dead upon the wall;
A dreamy sadness fills each heart,
          Our garden seems a dreary place,
          No brilliant flowers its borders grace,
Save in a sheltered nook apart,
          Where gay beneath the autumn sun
          Blooms our own Chrysanthemum.
Ah! she is not a "Summer Friend,"
          She stays when all the rest have flown,
          And left us flowerless and alone;
No singing birds, or blooms to lend
          Their brightness to the autumn haze,
          'Tis she who cheers the dreary days;
'Tis joy to know so sweet a friend;
          No fairer flower blooms 'neath the sun
          Than autumn's queen Chrysanthemum.
__Hattie L. Knapp


Esmerelda said...

The Chrysanthemums are looking gorgeous on campus. We miss you!

Angela McRae said...

How lovely -- the words and the images both! I know of a woman named Chrysan who I thought was "Chris Ann" before I learned her name is short for Chrysanthemum!

Marilyn said...

Beautiful poem and photos. I really must visit the garden very soon. I have an abundance right now of chrysanthemums and I must go pick a bouquet.

Alex Zorach said...

Is this Huang Shan (yellow mountain?) the same area of Huang Shan Mao Feng tea?

Steph said...

Hi, Alex - yep, this is it!

Anonymous said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing...