Birthflower for November: Chrysanthemum...
How on earth we have got to be in November already, I really can't quite fathom.
Perhaps those ghosts and goblins of Halloween have sped up the time machines, because the year seems to be disappearing awfully fast.
But I have to admit that November is one of my most favourite months of all… it's when the streets of most Australian cities are filled with petals of springtime blue. Purple/blue Jacaranda florets, periwinkle blue hydrangeas, royal blue agapanthus, and tiny little native daisies…the brachyscomes…try to outdo each other reaching for the sun with their sweet little blue petals.
All of which has absolutely nothing to do with the flower of the month for November, the Chrysanthemum, which, unlike most of the birth flowers we have explored in this series, only works in monthly timing for the Northern Hemisphere.
This rather charming and sadly out-of-fashion plant flowers in autumn, which, along with its name containing the word "mum" (so handy) makes it rather timely for the Australian and New Zealand Mother's Day gift. Ubiquitous, really.
(In fact, I have always warned my children that if they ever give me a bunch of Chrysanthemums on Mother's Day I shall pretend they are not my children, so unimaginative a gift this has become. When she was tiny, terrified of my wild threats, my daughter gifted me a bunch of hand-picked garden weeds instead, which I absolutely adored and treasured.)
But I digress….
I should be happy to accept a gift of these lovely flowers on any other day of the year.
They are very easy to grow, but do love a bit of sunshine, and perhaps their rather untidy bushy habit is what has caused a fall in their popularity.
Originating from East Asia, they were brought to England in the early 1800s, whereupon the young Victorians went nuts propagating them in ever-more colours and ever-more enormous sizes, with the help of the trusty Victorian hot house craze, as they are not terribly keen on cold winters.
Ranging in colours from whites and creams, through pale pinks, golds and blues to dark burgundy reds, and in single or double form, they really are a perennial worth growing, as the flowers will last for ages when cut and placed in a vase out of the sunshine.
So, if you were born in November you can drop hints for suitable presents depending on which part of the globe you currently reside in. For those Northern Hemisphere dwellers, start telling friends and family how much you adore fresh Chrysanthemum flowers.
And for those Southern Hemisphere dwellers, you can drop hints about how lovely a piece of jewellery fashioned from the inspiration of a Chrysanthemum might be. It's also the time to plant them now that it's spring.
Which brings me back to my daydreams of November blue… suddenly inspired to plant some cornflower blue Chrysanthemums this weekend so that, come next autumn, I can have vases of beautiful blue...