This is the final post about my Chinese ‘Flowers of the Month teacups’. It completes the series of stories that I began in January about the twelve ( 12 ) seasonal flowers that are hand-painted on my cups.
The December teacup features a Wintersweet shrub (Chimonanthus praecox ) densely covered with small, fragrant yellow blossoms. Wintersweet is a famous traditional flower plant in China, and it has been extensively cultivated for over one thousand years. Depending on where the bushes are growing, the blossoms will appear anywhere from December thru February.
This shrub can grow quite large ( 5 to 13 feet when established in a sunny spot ) and is prized for the cheerful color of its blossoms ( yellow to whiteish-yellow ). Wintersweet is cultivated worldwide and is a welcome addition to monotone winter landscapes. It is also used to created potted landscapes and it’s flowering branches are used in dramatic cut flower arrangements.
Six distinct species of wintersweet are indigenous to the mountainous regions of China: Anhui, Fujian, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Zhejiang Provinces. Interestingly, many of these high mountain regions and their lush landscapes are also famous for producing exquisite Chinese green tea.
The verse on the back of my cup has been translated for me as such:
the fragrance of ancient tree blossoms are wafting at the mountains peak
For detailed information on the history of Chinese 12 Flowers of the Months tea cups, please read my post from January 1st, 2010.