Nghia Trai is a traditional craft village that has cultivated and processed medicinal plants for a very long time, especially chrysanthemums, which have been cultivated by local farmers for hundreds of years. These flowers are also a valuable traditional medicine with a variety of positive health benefits.
During the main harvest season, the fields of Nghia Trai village are covered with an eye-catching bright yellow chrysanthemum carpet.
Chrysanthemum also has another name, “king-offered chrysanthemum”, because it has been grown since ancient times, its flowers collected and presented as offerings to kings and lords thanks to their precious medicinal function.
The flower beds are lined up in a straight line, creating bright yellow patches stretching far into the distance.
There is one Chrysanthemum crop per year. Chrysanthemum flowers are planted around June of the calendar year, and at the end of November they begin to bloom, signalling the upcoming harvest season from December until the New Year.
Many places have tried to grow chrysanthemum, but only the chrysanthemum grown here by the caring hands of Nghia Trai farmers, so attached to this flower for such a long time, has brought out the characteristic quality of the precious medicinal herb, classified as being of sufficient quality to offer to the kings.
In the main season, the whole field is bustling with the smiles of local female farmers harvesting the flowers. According to local expertise, chrysanthemum is of optimum quality when it has just bloomed.
Therefore, family members from children, young people to the elderly are all mobilised to join together in the field to pick the flowers. Many farmers also hire their neighbours to help with the harvest when the flowers are in full bloom.
The bustling, joyful atmosphere mixed with the eye-catching golden patches brightens even the greyest of winter days.
The harvest is done by hand and does not require special skills, but one needs to be skillful and meticulous in order to not crush the flowers or damage the petals. Every day, a person can collect 15-20 kg of fresh flowers.
A baby follows his grandmother to the field to harvest flowers.
The rustic but equally attractive beauty of the chrysanthemum field, only about 20 km from the centre of Hanoi, attracts many young people and visitors to Nghia Trai.
Many choose to pick a bouquet of fresh flowers for themselves, to decorate in their homes, and also using the finished product, that is the chrysanthemum buds, for making tea.
The flower beds after harvest will continue to be carefully cultivated in advance of the next crop.
It takes 5-7 kg of fresh flowers to produce 1 kg of dried chrysanthemums.
In the flower blooming season, all the courtyards in Nghia Trai village seem to be covered with yellow carpets of chrysanthemum flowers.
The mild, subtle fragrance of the precious flowers weaves through every corner of the peaceful countryside.
Chrysanthemum can be used fresh but is often dried to make tea or combined with other herbs, helping detox, nourish the liver and cure insomnia.
Trung Hung (Nhan Dan)