We're well aware we won't be visiting a lot of birthday parties anytime soon (don't get me started on the Holidays...).
Did you know that if you order a gift at the House of Thol webshop, we can giftwrap it for you and send it directly to your friends' doorstep? Simply change the shipping address at check-out. We'll also make sure to make it look like a present, so without the packing slip, for example.
We'll even add a personal hand-written note! Let us know what should be on there in the comment section and i'll try to write it down as neatly as i can (keep it short 'n sweet please).
We normally use a regular Flower Constellations card for our message, but if you add a Bee Happy flower card to the gift, we're happy to write your wishes on that card. Make sure to let us know though, otherwise we'll consider the Bee Happy flower card a gift for your friend to send later and won't write on it.
Didn't leave a message? Unless you specifically ask us not to, we will let your friend know on behalf of whom we're sending this gift.
Truth be told, i used to consider the Chrysanthemum somewhat of an old fashioned flower. I don't know what that notion was based on, but the flower never really appealed to me. That started to change when i accidentally mistook one for a Dahlia when i was at the florist a few weeks ago (not that uncommon, apparently). Another large bright yellow flower head ended up going home with me. And lo and behold: three weeks later, it's still standing! Add that to it being the official fall flower, and i decided to dive a little deeper into the Chrysanthemums origins, meaning and care advice.
(Not so) golden flower
The name 'Chrysanthemum' is a combination of the ancient Greek words 'Chrysos' (χρυσός), which means 'gold' and 'anthemom' (ἄνθεμον), which translates to 'flower'. So literally 'Golden Flower'. Although the original flower might have had a warm yellowish (golden) color, it now comes in a huge range of varieties and shades.
The gentleman of autumn
The Chrysanthemum is a herb, and cultivation has been recorded in ancient China as far back as the 15th century BC. The Chrysanthemum, or 'Pinyin' (菊花) was grown for the healing qualities of all parts of the plant, from the roots to the young sprouts, the petals and the leaves (more about the healing qualities of Chrysanthemum <here>). It became part of the 'four gentlemen', representing the four seasons: blossoming plum for winter, orchid for spring, bamboo for summer, and the chrysanthemum for autumn. Hundreds of poems are written about the flower and on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month each year, the Chrysanthemum plays a big part in the Chinese double ninth festival.
Flower of the Emperor
Around 800 AD the Japanese discovered the Chrysanthemum and fell so in love with the flower, their emperor decided to use it for his imperial seal. The chrysanthemum remains the symbol of the emperor to this day and the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest Order of Chivalry. National Chrysanthemum Day is celebrated in Japan on September 9th each year.
Woodblock print by Keika Hasegawa
Chrysanthemum LeMans 4
Although 500 Chrysanthemum cultivars were recorded in Asia as early as 1630, it took until 1753 for the chrysanthemum to be introduced to the Western world by renowned Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus, who gave the flower its western name. There are now more than 20.000 different Chrysanthemum cultivars ranging from small multi-headed daisies to large kings head blooms that the ancient growers probably wouldn't recognize.
A strong symbol
In some European countries (France and Belgium for example) chrysanthemum have been used as funeral flowers for years, symbolizing a respect for the death. At the same time the colorful flowers are considered positive and cheerful in the US (except in New Orleans). In Victorian floriography (the language of flowers) the red chrysanthemum stood for love, whereas the yellow chrysanthemum symbolized a love taken-for-granted and the white variety is used to communicate truth, loyalty and honesty.
bouquet fillers and showstoppers
Looking into the many available cultivars made me realize why i wasn't really into Chrysanthemum. The multi-headed small-bloomed variety that is often used as a bouquet filler is not a love of mine.
I am however a fan of the larger single-headed cultivars. And there are plenty to choose from! Focusing on the cultivars with one flower-head only, there are 6 main categories: Pompon, Double, Incurve, Mop Head, Single and Spider. I prefer the types where the full inner floret is hidden by petals, and especially the ones that are made of two colors. For some online inspiration, i found this list of gorgeous cultivars at Love 'n fresh flowers.
Less is more
We often used to see Chrysanthemums packed close together into an air-less bouquet, which i think is just a shame of the beautiful heads. Botanical science agrees with me here: As with many cut flowers, the Chrysanthemum will stay fresh much longer when their stems get room to breathe. With flowers this large and expressive there's really no need to cram a lot of them together anyway. A few will do just nicely.
So... once you found yourself some nice blooms, here's what you do:
Chrysanthemum bouquet set in a Flower Constellation
1. Use a clean vase with clean water and flower food 2. Take off (at least) the foliage below the water line (i usually only leave a leaf or two). 3. Cut about 2 inches off each stem in a 45 degree angle and place directly into the water (use a Flower Constellation if you like). 4. Ideally place the vase in a cool spot out of direct sunlight and sheltered from drafts. 5. Refresh the water every few days, slightly cutting the stem each time you do. Make sure to remove any wilting flowers.
With proper care chrysanthemum flowers can have a vase-life of up to 21 days. NB Chrysanthemum are not super sensitive to ethylene, but as with all cut flowers, keeping them away from ripening fruits will help them stay fresh for longer.
A little bonus: chrysanthemum petals are edible, so after enjoying them in a vase, the chrysanthemum flowers could be dried to make a tea to help with all kinds of ailments (more on how to make it <here>). That said, i wouldn't advice using a florist-bought chrysanthemum to brew tea from, you never no what might have been used to get rid of pests.
How sustainable are chrysanthemum?
Chrysanthemum can be bought year-round, but are in season in September, October and November, so best get them then.
In the Netherlands, the flowers are usually grown in glass houses, and more and more sustainable practices are surrounding the cultivation. Many growers have turned to using insects instead of pesticides, and ever more businesses use LED lighting in combination with self-generated green energy.
It is also quite possible to grow Chrysanthemum in your own garden. They come in both perennial as well as annual varieties and, as mentioned above, a galore of shapes, colors and sizes. That said: the varieties that are most sold in garden centres are usually that of the smaller bushy multi-headed kinds. The longer stemmed one-headed chrysanthemum sold as cut-flowers at florists can be slightly more tricky to grow.
It being such a tough flower means a bouquet can be enjoyed for up to three weeks, making chrysanthemum both a great sustainable and economical choice.
Added bonus: if you were to use the petals in some kind of tea, it would be an even more low-waste deal.
Here we are: Once more confined to the House of Thol headquarters. Although, to be honest, we're not really: shops are open, and although we're advice not to go out too often and only meet a limited amount of people, we're still fairly free to do as we like.
Bars and restaurant however are closed for anything but take-out, and i really really hope those entrepreneurs will be able to survive. Man, they've had it tough this year!
For us it's a lot better than the last lockdown back in March/April: the kids get to go to school (for now...) and with our internet-situation sorted we get to focus on our work in relative peace. We're also used to it by now, i guess. And personally i'm happy we're now officially advised to wear facemasks in public, because i felt weird to wear one before, and i do believe they may offer at least a small contribution to containing the spread of the virus.
What sucks is that we're once again thrown into uncertainty about how long this will last and whether we get to spend the Holidays with our families. I guess there's not much more we can do but keep working, follow the advice and stay healthy.
Good luck everyone, we will get through this, and there will inevitably be a new spring in 2021.
In many ways, this years' ShowUP (fall edition) couldn't have been scheduled at a better place or time: the forced venue-move to Brabanthallen Den Bosch meant many more professionals from Belgium and Germany braved the trip to the Netherlands. Whereas if ShowUP would've taken place in the normal location of Vijfhuizen, the international guests might have skipped the fair altogether to avoid the -at the time- Covid-red district around Amsterdam.
And, let's be clear: the fair took place just in time. And i mean JUST... Thomas and i dismantled our display Monday evening while listening to the new Covid-measures by Prime Minister Rutte in the latest Corona press conference. I'm not sure if ShowUP could've taken place had it been scheduled a week later.
Happy chats and resilient entrepreneurs
But it did: we got to go there and lots of people showed up and we got to meet so many interesting entrepreneurs and professionals! Great to see so many people are not letting themselves get knocked down: Even in these trying times, many shops were ready and even eager to place orders for the gift-giving season that's ahead. We will be updating our store locator soon!
Here you'll find a few images of the presentation we set up and the novelties we showcased. We even had an Expo movie made to give you an idea of the athmosphere. It turned out a bit orange, and somehow Thomas managed to duck the camera, but at least you get an idea about the athmosphere. Scroll down to check it out!
Couldn't make it to the fair and would love to learn more about wholesale possibilities of our designs, don't hesitate to get in touch!