Chinese Flowers – A Historical Perspective

Chinese flowers – Historical Significance

Chinese flowers have long been an important part of the nation’s history and culture. Perhaps no other society has emphasized the importance of the flower as strongly as China, which can be witnessed in all of their forms of art, in their philosophy, and even in how they think in some ways. This fascination and love of flowers dates back thousands of years to the earliest dynasties.

It may be that the world’s first true gardens appeared in China, and that it was there that the world’s first botanists began to cultivate and breed new species. A garden featuring Chinese flowers has a distinctive flavor and style, one that remains to this day and that is very different from western styles. This can be evidenced most largely in the philosopher’s gardens popular over the last several hundred years.

What sets a philosopher’s garden apart from a western one is that each and every element, no matter how small-seeming, has its own purpose and meaning. Chinese flowers are not simply grouped together to provide something nice to look at – they have a deeper meaning to those present to enjoy them.

The master gardeners would attempt to reconstruct certain themes using Chinese flowers and other elements, such as stone work, water and architecture – all extremely prominent in any philosopher garden. This was done to represent the world itself. A small artificial mountain or hill would be used to represent a real one (and often designed to resemble peaks of special prominence).

A pagoda or small shrine might be built on top to recreate the appearance of many larger hill-top constructs in the real world. Paths would often lead to these buildings, allowing those who dwelt within the garden to have an unobstructed view to assist with their more lofty musings. Water, too, was very important with special techniques being used to cloud the water itself, allowing for introspection while gazing upon it.

One other feature in common with all of this was the Chinese flowers and plants. Each one would be planted to highlight a specific idea or element of the surroundings. The various plants and Chinese flowers were chosen so that, at all times of the year, at least some portion of the garden would remain beautiful and vibrant with life. This seasonal contrast was very popular amongst the philosophers and scholars who lived in the gardens.

Chinese Flowers in Art and Decoration

It is common to see paintings and threadwork in the Chinese style that heavily features floral elements. By capturing the essence of Chinese flowers, the artists were able to create items that could be displayed within the home in order to allow for enjoyment by the entire family.

Traditional Chinese dress often also featured (and still features) varieties of Chinese flowers, which would be created in the silk and other fabrics (specifically of ladies’ garments) to add to the elegance and beauty of the whole. Wearing of Chinese flowers in the hair was also a popular trend at many times.

Chinese Flowers That to Enjoy at Home

We’ve put together a list of popular Chinese flowers that can be grown in your home garden for personal enjoyment. Many of these do well in North American and European climates, which can be beneficial if you wish for an exotic and unique garden that doesn’t have special temperature requirements.

· Plum blossoms. Although plum blossoms are actually part of a tree, planting a plum tree is a great option for your back yard. These were once the national flower of China, and can still be found on their fifty-cent coins.

· Chrysanthemum. These Chinese flowers symbolize life and strength, and are some of the most popular and widely-loved in the world. This flower comes in many varieties.

· Orchids. Although found in many other areas as well, orchids were an important flower in the history of China. They are valued for their elegance and beauty, and are incredibly popular.

· Lotus. The lotus is an aquatic plant that grows up from the muddy bottoms of rivers and ponds to produce beautiful blossoms. It is this quality that finds them referenced and idealized in Eastern religion, as they symbolize rising up from the mud to become something brilliant. This may be difficult to cultivate in cooler climates.

Chinese Flowers – Concluding Information

By growing any of these plants in your garden you can begin to create a classic look of the Orient. Although creating your own scholar garden would require a great deal of money and resources, you can still attempt to replicate certain features in your backyard. Look online for a great source of information about plant species and gardening tips. Your local garden center or florist’s shop will be able to assist as well.

If you plant any of these Chinese flowers you can create a fresh look that everyone will be able to love – friends and family alike.

Copyright (c) 2008 – Brant Florist

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