Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Regal Flower for the Season

Here's some more flowers for Snabby in hopes he comes through the "horse-piddle" well.

Flowers have always had a special significance in Japanese culture. If you look at classical poetry from the Nara (mid 8th century), and Heian (late 8th to 11th century) eras you find that just about every major facet of life has a specific flower to represent it. When members of the upper classes wrote letters to each other, they always included some kind of flower-related (or tree-related) poem to serve as a metaphor for the point they were trying to get across. A lot of good examples are given in The Tale of Genji.

Even now, flowers are closely linked to the seasons. In traditional haiku and tanka poetry, there is always a word or statement included to indicate the time of year. Flowers are the most common method. The traditional card game known as hanafuda is not only based on flowers, but the point-earning combinations depend on matching those flowers with others appropriate to the same season.

Incidentally, the flower that best represents this time of year is also the one that is the symbol of the current imperial family. It is the kiku, or chrysanthemum. (In fact, the Emperor sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne.)

There are many kinds of chysanthemum, and their appearance differs to a considerable degree. So does the growth cycle and method of planting. All types have a pleasant fragrance and often remain in full bloom well into early winter, when all other flowers are long since gone.

Growing chrysanthemums can take a bit of effort. They require a lot of sunlight, and they do best in soil that is relatively rich. Depending on how ideal their location is, they may need both frequent watering and a touch of fertilizer every week or so to flourish.

Here are some chrysanthemums for Snabby and for the season. Enjoy!




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gumby:

I want my Cry-MAN-the-SUMS! My braaain hurts.

Doctor:

(Shakes his head) It'll have to come out.