|Additional Notes: Handle the flowers
carefully to avoid shattering of the blossoms. To prevent blossom shattering in some
cultivars which are highly vulnerable to shattering, (Fuji & Spider Mums) you can
spray a commercial product "Mum Tight" on the back of the blossoms, or you can
melt candle wax on the back side of the flowers.
Ancient China and Japan both have tales explaining how the chrysanthemum
originated. The Chinese legend tells the story of an elderly emperor who had heard about a
magic herb that would give him eternal youth. This herb was said to grow on Dragonfly
Island and could only be picked by young people.
The elderly emperor therefore sent twenty-four children, on
what proved to be a long and hazardous journey. Much to their dismay, when they finally
arrived at the island they found it totally deserted. There was no sign of the magic herb.
All they found was a flower - the golden chrysanthemum, which today still symbolises the
Chinese people's ties with their country. Later, Mao Tse Tung replaced the imperial golden
yellow with the red of the people's republic.
The Japanese legend revolves around the god Izanagi and the
goddess Izanami, who were sent to earth across a bridge of clouds because there were too
many gods in heaven. When she arrived on earth, the goddess created the gods of the wind,
the mountains and the sea, but perished miserably in the flames that sprang up while she
was creating the god of fire. Izanagi, who missed her, followed her into a dismal place
known as the 'Black Night'. When he finally caught a glimpse of the goddess, he was
immediately pursued by an old witch. He fled back to earth, where he decided to cleanse
himself in the river. The items of clothing he dropped onto the ground turned into twelve
gods. His jewels turned into flowers, his bracelet into an iris, a second bracelet into a
lotus flower and his necklace became a golden chrysanthemum.
In Germany, people put white chrysanthemums in their homes
at Christmas, to welcome baby Jesus.