Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Mei Hua' Plum Blossoms for Chinese New Year 2011

Artificial plum/cherry blossom flowers at a store in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.

There is a special flower that we associate with the Chinese New Year that no matter where we are and what our climate zone, you will find them in almost every home during the festive season. Just like poinsettias are for Christmas, plum blossoms are important for Chinese New Year.

Have you seen the real plum blossoms?

As I live in tropical equatorial Malaysia, I have never seen real plum blossoms. Every year I use artificial ones to decorate my home during this occassion. I just found out that there are real blossoms on display at Sunway Pyramid shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia! So, I'm really excited and I shall be dashing over there as soon as I am free because I wanna see, touch and smell for the very first time what the real plum blossoms are like. I can hardly wait for this to happen.

Pink plum blossoms

In my previous post here, I posted about my wish to see plum blossoms this new year. I am so very happy to have the pictures of these lovely flowers in my blog post today.

The pink blossoms pictured here are published with permission from Lynn Rogers at 'From Lynn's Garden' blog in her post on 19 Jan 2011, titled, "Plants for Winter Blooms".   I  was doing a google search for blooming plum blossoms. It was my first visit to her blog and when I left a comment in her post, she replied to me with 3 photos attached! This just shows what a wonderful person she is and how lucky I am.

The flowers are blooming in her garden in Arkansas, USA now. Lynn, thank you so very much for this delight.

White plum blossoms

Coincidentally, Prof Lrong Lim of Potager Y in Japan blog, wrote a post titled, "Japan Plum Flowers, Winter Roses" on 23 Jan 2011 with a picture of the white plum blossoms. Now, with his kind permission, I am able to publish this photo in my blog. These flowers are blooming in the garden of Lrong in Japan now. Prof, my very grateful thanks to you and your lovely wife, Y, for this delight.

So you see, it is 'double happiness' for me!

Guess what? They really bloom in winter where everthing else appear 'dead and gloomy' and in the absence of any green leaves or shoots. In fact, the flowers appear before the leaves. They are so many pretty blooms against the bare branches, such a beautiful scene. I wonder, how they'll look when covered with snow.

Have you seen snow/frost on the flowers?

Scientific name: Prunus mume
Common names: Chinese plum or mei hua (梅花), Japanese apricot (ume), Korean maesil
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: China

“Mei Hua Plum Blossoms for Chinese New Year 2011”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on January 30th, 2011.

I understand that Prunus mume is grown more for their flowers than the fruits. Based on my google search, these are the information I obtained:

  1. They bloom in late January to early February.
  2. Plum blossom festivals are held at certain cities in China, Japan and Korea.
  3. There are some ancient trees in Hubei, China aged more than 1,600 years old that are still flowering
You can find plum blossoms depicted in poetry and art as in silk paintings, calligraphy, embroidery, in traditional garments such as kimono, cheongsam and in jewellery.

Plum blossoms are symbols of nobility, beauty, courage, resilience, longevity and hope. They also represent strength in adversity, e.g. people who excel when faced with difficulties or find opportunities in the presence of threats. Though plum trees bloom in winter, they are regarded as a harbinger of spring.

So, what's the difference between cherry, plum and peach blossoms? It is the fruits produced of course and they have different blooming periods.  Cherry trees (Prunus serralate) or Sakura bloom in late March for about 2 weeks. The cherry fruits that we eat comes from another species Prunus avium. Peach trees (Prunus persica) bloom in early spring.

They all belong to the Rosaceae or rose family of flowering plants. The cherry, plum and peach blossoms look quite similar, hence they are sometimes collectively called 'cherry blossoms'.  I used to be confused over this classification.

For feng shui believers, peach blossoms (flower of romance) and peonies (flower of lust and passion) are used to enhance love, affection and relationship luck while plum blossoms are for nobility, longevity, achievement and strength. Hence, their applications are different eventhough all 3 relates to beauty. It is important that they know the differences between the different flowers in order to apply the principles correctly.

For a picture of the real peony flower, please visit Beth's Plant Postings blog here.
For a picture of peach blossoms, please visit Ami's Southeast Florida Garden Evolvement blog here.


  1. Ni hao ma, I believe they are considered super auspicious in the oriental culture. Lovely post! Love the pastel colours.... reminds me of spring.

  2. They are really beautiful. I have seen them life before but the temperature was at 1 degree C. Better to enjoy them at Sunway Pyramid.

  3. Happy Chinese New Year to you, Autumn Belle. May you have many beautiful blossoms in your garden this year. May you enjoy abundance in your life too. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

  4. What a wonderful post Autumn Belle. Plum blooms are really beautiful and I love how you give the meanings, festivals etc. to the flowers. I don't think I've ever seen them for real, just in pictures.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comment.


  5. You are all set for CNY, what with your helpful CNY-related posts. I wish you a prosperous and happy New Year.May the rabbit year bring you abundant joy, perfect health and wonderful blooms in your garden!

  6. Yes they are really beautiful flowers. Happy rabbit year to you and your family, gong xi fa chai!!

  7. I have seen them from a bus! In Beijing, not sure which one, but it is truly spectacular, whole tree is covered with pink flowers and no leaves! Really beautiful!
    I have extended an award to you, please do drop by and collet it when you can. Thank you!

  8. I have always loved flowering fruit trees of almost any kind. Imagine a plum tree over 1000 years old and still flowering -amazing.

  9. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and information about plum blossoms and the Rose family. How fun that we will soon begin the Year of the Rabbit! And thanks for the link to my blog. Happy Chinese New Year!

  10. Dear Autumn Belle, many thanks for posting my photo!
    As One mentioned, the temperatures in the mornings at Potager Y hover at around 1 degree, so it is cold...

  11. Radhika, wo hao, xie xie! (I am fine, thank you). Thank you very much for following me on My Nice Flowers blog too. That was so sweet of you!

    One, you are so lucky! Blushing, blushing, I am a country pumpkin, or 'katak di bawah tempurung' (frog in a nut shell), haha.

    JC, thank you very much for the CNY wishes. That was so sweet of you. Wow, your sunflowers are blooming now. How lucky!

    FlowerLady, I learn a lot from you too, as you are really good in baking and gardening and handicraft and .....

    Rosie, thank you-thank you. May you be healthy, wealthy and as lovely as ever!

    Milka, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Kitchen Flavours, thank you very much in advance for the award. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Patty, yeah, I was wondering about this '000 year old tree too.

    Beth, yeah, Roger Rabbit and his gang coming over soon. Hope they hop over to your garden to bring good luck and happiness to you and your family. But first, do prepare raised beds for your plants as suggested by your commenter.

    Lrong, how about a picture of your plum blossoms drenched in snow/frost? You see, now I am getting very greedy!

  12. They are beautiful I see why you love them so. They remind me of a tree here in the U.S called the Eastern Redbud( Cercis canadensis).

    It was very nice of your blogging friends to share their photo's with you. Blogger's like these make blogging rewarding and fun.

  13. Kung Hei Fa Choi my Friend! We have lots of Chinese festivities here too and traditions are all around the malls, most especially in our Chinatown. I've even saw a dragon dance once when i happened to be there in the Chinese New Year. I've seen some Prunus blossoms in person before but yes i dont know how to distinguish them. The pink, reds and whites are all very beautiful. I felt like we are so deprived of those beauties, because we cannot grow them in our countries. My first view of them was in Sweden, where i cannot get away my eyes from them. Some are even purplish. And in Turkey when we visited the mountains for the Snowdrop Festival, the white flowers of white wild plums are scattered in the wild, can you imagine its beauty scattered in the wild. I tell you, i am mesmerized and from then on i told my Malaysian friends who was with me, that they are my favorite flowers. We just learned of them as wild plums when we asked some natives.

  14. Vetsy, yeah, others may love it for their beauty but it means more than that to me. It is also about our culture and traditions.

    Isn't it great that garden bloggers from far and near can 'connect' like this? It makes my celebrations even more meaningful!

  15. My dear Andrea, yes, I do remember that you have told me before, maybe last year. You are so lucky. I can just imagine how you must have felt standing there in a foreign country and looking at the spledid display of fragrance blooms in the cold wintry air, even looking at the lovely petals falling one by one onto the snow covered ground below. Ancient poets, scholars and sages had enjoyed their beauty too and their feelings were expressed in beautiful poems, verses and paintings.

    Kung Hei Fatt Choy to you too! Bugs bunny arriving soon, hehehe.

  16. I've seen the plum blossoms in a nursery,of course the flowers are not as thick like the photos here. I also seen the tree in our resort island of Sentosa , with just few blooms.

  17. Jama, I still have not seen any plum blossoms in nurseries here yet.

  18. What a beautiful flowers. That place is not far away from my place.
    Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Chai to you too.
    Wish you will have a prosperous New Year ahead.

    See you around.
    via Sabahan Bloggers Club.

  19. Oh, Autumn Belle, this post is making me real homesick!!! My hometown has a garden called "Mei Garden", and when I was little, we used to visit that garden when Mei Hua is full blooming. It looked like a sea of Mei Hua, and just a wonderful scene in my memory. Thanks for another beautiful post that connects me to the culture I treasure.

    Happy New Year to you!

  20. Hi Autumn Belle, I've extended an award for you, please feel free to pick it up when you're free. Gong Xi Fa Chai!!

  21. Hi Autumn...So beautiful...wish I can see the real one. Wish you Happy Chinese New Year, hope this year will give you more prosperous and success to you and your family. Gong Xi Fa Cai ;)

  22. I look forward to hearing/seeing your visit to the real plum blossoms...beautiful photos, yours and others...thank you for sharing!

  23. Autumn Belle, I have been admiring Prunus mume, which we call Japanese apricot, for over twenty years but have yet to plant one in my garden. Your post will hopefully inspire me to seek one out as I have had the spot picked out for a long time. Carolyn

  24. aloha autumn belle,

    those are beautful, what a show!

  25. Lunaticg, thanks for the CNY wishes.

    Amy, what you have described, I had only viewed it in the movies or TV. Glad it bought back memories of your childhood. It is so wonderful to be celebrating this festival together, no matter where we are, and for this I am thankful to the internet.

    Milka, thanks for the award!

    Makarimi, tqvm for the CNY wishes!

    Theanne, I hope I can make it but until now, still no time to go yet because I am still tied up with the preparations.

    Carolyn, if you grow it and it flowers, do inform me!

    Noel, thanks for dropping by!

  26. What a beautiful blossom! Autumn Belle, do you know any flowering trees in Malaysia that have wonderful bloom like this? Do visit my blog at


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