Chinese ‘12 Flowers of Months’ Teacups – November/Narcissus

The November flower is the Narcissus. Where I live in the Northeast, Narcissus will not appear in gardens until mid-March at the earliest,  but gardening books suggest that Narcissus bulbs can flower from November to April depending on the species. Until then, Narcissus lovers like myself can bring a little spring indoors by planting some Narcissus bulbs in decorative containers now (‘forcing’ them into bloom) and then enjoying the lovely blossoms ( and fragrance ) about mid-December.

Narcissuss belong to the Amaryllis family. The species is robust and contains many varieties, most of which are small, slender and provocatively perfumed. I have read that it is considered a good omen if Narcissus flowers are blooming at the time of Chinese New Year.

Narcissus are primarily native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found through central Asia to China. Great numbers of Narcissus are cultivated in Great Britain and Holland, and America’s love affair with Narcissus began when settlers from Europe brought the tiny bulbs to their new homeland and planted them here to replicate a bit of the ‘old country’.

I am happy to see this sweet-scented beauty represented in the yearly lineup of revered blossoms on my set of tea cups. For me the brisk days of early spring are a delightful time. I look forward to discovering colorful patches of hearty narcissus, bobbling their heads in the unsettled wind and cheerfully standing tall in spite of the inclement weather. On a warm day filled with spring promise, the pervasive, sweet, slightly-spicy scent of Narcissus is sweeter to me and more welcome than that of the loveliest rose later in summer.

The verse on the back of my cup has been translated for me as such:
treading elegantly on the water in the moon’s glow

For detailed information on the history of Chinese 12 Flowers of the Months tea cups, please read my post from January 1st, 2010.


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