Drawing its allure from the gold of the sun and the rule of emperors, the chrysanthemum winds its way through ancient Chinese culture into the gardens of French Impressionist painters and onto the pages of American novels. The flower signifies both life and death, as parts of Europe associate it with mourning while others celebrate it for its golden rays that light the autumnal gloom.
In this fascinating book, Twigs Way follows the fortunes of the flower through philosophy, art, literature and death, recounting the stories of the men and women who became captivated by it. With a range of vibrant illustrations, including works by Hiroshige, Monet and Mondrian, it will appeal to lovers of art, flowers, history and culture.
1 The Honourable and Imperial Flower
2 Smuggling Tea and Chrysanthemums
3 Gathering the Harvest in Societies and Shows
4 In Peace and in War
5 An Impression of Chrysanthemums
6 A Literary Bouquet
7 Meaningful and Useful: A Plethora of Chrysanthemums
Associations and Websites
Twigs Way is a lecturer, writer and speaker who has worked in historic landscapes and gardens for over thirty years. She is a regular contributor to BBC Countryfile and her previous books include Carnation (Reaktion, 2016), A Passion for Gardening (2015) and the History of Garden Gnomes (2009). She lives in Cambridgeshire.
"The chrysanthemum was the classless wonder of the Victorian Age. Twigs Way has wondrously revived it -– we can now at last understand its true glory in the pantheon of flowers."
– His Honour Simon Brown QC, Past Master of the Inner Temple Garden
"Forget associations of chrysanthemums and dreary drabness, thanks to Twigs Way their myriad petals point the reader honourably, imperially and sensibly into a journey of floral fascination [...] [a] book of horticultural, artistic and literary delights."
– Caroline Holmes, garden historian
"Twigs Way has very skilfully and gently guided us down the centuries with tales of how these chrysanthemum plants have beguiled us. From Emperors, poets, painters, writers, decorative arts, florists, show benches and even tea. But the real story is in the title, that is with the chrysanthemum plant itself. As with Scheherazade in the Tales from the Arabian Nights this plant will adapt and evolve to lead us on in order to survive."
– Judy Barker FLS Holder of the National Collection Hardy Chrysanthemums John Woolman Medal of Honour, Brickell Award