It is said that placing a single petal of this highly scented flower at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a healthy and long life. The Japanese believe that this bloom is a symbol of the sun. It is the flower with the name that is never quite spelt correctly. The spelling that Gilbert Blythe threw to show his adoration for Anne Shirley in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
They are Chrysanthemums, also known as Mums. It is the flower that, when in bloom in the Australian May, is a symbol of Mother’s Day.
In the 19th Century Pissarro painted Chrysanthemums in a Chinese Vase. I had bunches of them in cut crystal and glass vases on the tables at my wedding reception. They sell in plastic pots of colour at suburban supermarkets in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, and, according to feng shui, if you pop some Chrysies into a vase at home, they will bring you happiness and laughter.
A vase by definition is an open container, most often used to hold cut flowers, to hold chrysanthemums if you will. A vase can be made from all kinds of materials. Pissarro’s Chinese vase may have been from the dynastic periods, it may have been made from construction materials like bricks and tiles or perhaps it was a ceramic made for the Imperial Court. The vintage collection of vessels that held the white and green buds and flowers at my wedding were a hoarded collection of family heirlooms made from classic cut crystal that threw rainbows and made a musical tone when running a wet finger around the rim. Others were glass op-shop finds that were lighter to hold, with thick sharp cuts and, while less valuable, together with the old-school fleurs, they still put on a great vintage show. And, at the end of the day, those plastic containers at the supermarket do the job of ‘vase’ too.
Vases have been described as having their own anatomy. Lowest is the foot, the base. Above that sits the body, the heart or the main part of the vase. On top of the torso sits the shoulder where often the body curves in and then there is the lip, where the vase flare back out at the top. Sometimes the have handles, some are fancy and decorative, tall, slim, small, bud, understated, elegant. They are all different, unique and all quite beautiful.
The variety of vases that can be found throughout the centre is amazing. Come in and find the perfect one for your mum this Mother’s Day. And then, buy some Chrysanthemums to go in it.