The April tea cup in my set depicts a glorious show of tree peony blossoms, a gorgeous flower that has often been represented in Chinese poetry, literature and painting.
Few plants are as revered in China as tree peonies are. In fact, tree peonies were once grown exclusively by the emperor for their magnificent blossoms, but today they are as close to a national flower as it gets in China.
Over the centuries tree peony blossoms have been revered for their silky luminescence, and their exquisite, exotic, lushness. Here in New England, perennial peonies are better suited to our sometimes harsh weather conditions than tree peonies are, and gardeners prize these plants with the same zeal. In Boston’s Victory Gardens, there is a gentleman who grows such spectacular, snow white peonies ( which he sells to florists that cater to the bridal trade ) that he has to keep his garden under lock and key from all the ‘admirers’. Each May I cut a few stems of lipstick red peonies from our garden and bring them into the store. These flowers receive more comments than any others that I bring in from our garden throughout the year ( and I see more customers giving them loving touches, too! )
Here is the rough translation of the verse on the back of the cup:
100 flowers toss their heads to each other
For detailed information on the history of Chinese 12 Flowers of the Months tea cups, please read my post from January 1st, 2010.