Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gifting Warmth and Sunshine

Gift baskets are fun to assemble.  I'm going to share with you a basket I made one cold, but sunny, day.  I wanted to bring some warmth into our house so I thought a basket of fruits and flowers that originated from a warm climate would do the trick (at least visually). 

For this basket, I used six miniature chrysanthemums (about as tall as my iPhone). 

Three pinks and three yellows.  

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China and appeared in Chinese literature as early as the 15th Century B.C.  This flower appears in many poems and paintings and symbolizes grace and nobility in ancient Chinese literature. Today, the chrysanthemum is a symbol of happiness and good luck.  This flower has been used in tea and cooking for centuries.  It also has medicinal properties.  The Chinese people celebrate the Double Ninth (Chongyang) Festival on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month (which usually falls in October in the Gregorian calendar).  The Double Ninth Festival occurs when chrysanthemum blooms.  Although the Double Ninth Festival originated as a day to drive away danger, over time it became a day of celebration. During this festival, people drink chrysanthemum tea and wine and enjoy other activities celebrating the chrysanthemum flower, such as reading poetry about chrysanthemums and admiring the blooms.

In addition to the flowers, I also added three guava, three persimmons, and three pomegranates.  These fruits are not your standard fruits that you can easily get from most chain grocery stores, but it's worth hunting for them because they are exotic and delicious and they are considered "super fruits" when it comes to health benefits.

Guava -- the "queen of fruits" 

Persimmons -- the "fruits of the gods"

Pomegranate -- the "jewel of the winter"

Although combining fruits and flowers produces fantastic arrangements, this technique often comes at a cost. 

Most fruits emit a colorless gaseous plant hormone called ethylene that greatly shortens the life of fresh cut as well as potted flowers.  Although all three of my fruits release ethylene, the pomegranate emits only a very small amount of this gas.

However, certain flowers are not sensitive to ethylene and luckily chrysanthemums are one of them.  So, we are all good!  I can tuck little pots of these flowers everywhere in my basket!

And VOILA!  
A cheerful little basket
that is loaded with goodness.

Happy Lunar New Year
[it's the year of the rooster]

Happy Rooster at Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge

BTW: The Lunar New Year will be on January 28 this year.  The Lunar New Year is a very important national holiday in many Asian countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore.  The common theme celebrated during the Lunar New Year is family reunion.  According to the Chinese zodiac, this coming new year is the year of the rooster. 

The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year-cycle, each year is represented by an animal sign.  The twelve animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.  To find out what your zodiac animal sign is, here is one site to visit     Have Fun 


  1. I've always liked chrysanthemums even though I may not spell them consistently correctly. I liked the background info especially about the ethylene emissions. I did not know that before.

  2. I love the variety of texture and color in your display :)

  3. Hello, pretty gift basket. The flowers are beautiful. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  4. Always something to learn here. Such a beautiful basket!

  5. What a pretty basket incorporating both fruit and flowers.

  6. Beautiful....cut flowers are such an important addition to winter home environments.....
    Happy Tuesday!

  7. Oooh, I LOVE chrysanthemum tea! We learnt all about tea travelling China a few years ago, it really opened our eyes - now the cupboard is full of amazing teas we enjoy. Your basket of fruit and flowers is so beautiful! The colour is delightful and I really enjoyed reading your post... learned some more!

  8. I love your baskets for gifts! You have excellent ideas on how to make a basket!

  9. Very beautiful, just the pictures bring warmth and sunshine. I can imagine they brought the same into the house, well done!

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  11. Always something to learn here. Such a beautiful basket!