Bent on fragrance, Vietnam farmers hustle in chrysanthemum pageant

By Huynh Phuong, Pham Ngoc Thach   December 17, 2019 | 01:56 am PT
Harvest season sees visitor numbers soar as yellow flower cascade engulfs a flower village in northern Hung Yen Province.
Close-up flower beds are a typical view off the road passing Nghia Trai village, Tan Quang commune, Van Lam district, Hung Yen Province, about 30 km from the capital city of Hanoi.

Flower beds carpet the landscape near Nghia Trai Village, Tan Quang Commune, Van Lam District, about 30 km from Hanoi.

Chrysanthemum trading is one of the main income sources in Hien medicinal herbs village in Hung Yen. The flower seeds are planted at around the end of the seventh lunar month, which engenders small saplings the size of a finger at first. After two months when the tree grows high enough, the farmers pick flowers from the top branch to stimulate more branches to grow, allowing more flowers to bud.

The chrysanthemum trade is a main income source in Pho Hien medicinal herbs village. Seeds are planted at the end of August, producing saplings the size of a finger. After two months, farmers pick flowers from the top branch to eventually stimulate more flowers to bud.

Some workers harvest the blossomed flowers. During the flower season, some families hire dozens of pickers at the same time to obtain quality products.Photographer Pham Ngoc Thach from Hanoi who captures the moments quoted the farmers saying that the chrysanthemum season lasts about 20 days, which usually falls around New Years Day.

Flower season witnesses the arrival of many pickers, hired by local families to assist in harvesting, which normally occurs over 20 days around New Year’s Day.

People here said only chrysanthemums grown in the Hien village have unique style and yield great quantity. Many people from other regions have brought the chrysanthemums here to cultivate in their respective areas but they all bloom to overbearing size (as big as a rice bowl) but emit little to no fragrance.

Locals believe the great quantities of chrysanthemums grown in Pho Hien Village are unique. Though local seeds have been cultivated in other regions, blooming to the size of a rice bowl, the plants emit little to no fragrance.

Chrysanthemum is known as Chrysanthemum the King because in the old days, the flower’s cooling down and detoxifying effect made it a delicacy to kings. The common way to enjoy the flower is to make tea or medicinal herbs mixing with other herbs.

The moniker "Chrysanthemum the King" relates to the flower’s cooling and detoxifying effect, which in the old days, made it a delicacy among rulers. Today the flower is used in tea or mixed with medicinal herbs.

The harvest season is when the chrysanthemum fields become bustling with many harvesters congregating. This is their favorite job, and also generates income, photographer Thach added.One person can harvest 20-30 kilograms of flowers a day. Fresh chrysanthemum sold on the spot costs about VND50,000 per kilogram ($2.2).

Harvest season generates plenty of income, one picker capable of gathering 20-30 kilograms of flowers a day. Fresh chrysanthemums sold on the spot cost around VND50,000 ($2.2) per kilogram.

Visitors departing from Hanoi cross Vinh Tuy Bridge to Highway 5 to reach Nhu Quynh town. From there, tourists turn to Nhu Quynh market and then go about two kilometers to the Nghia Trai flower field.

Visitors departing Hanoi cross Vinh Tuy Bridge to access National Highway 5, and eventually Nhu Quynh Town. From here, tourists turn towards Nhu Quynh market before proceeding about two kilometers to Nghia Trai Village flower fields.

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