[HOT ITEM]Going to pots: how to contain your feelings

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[HOT ITEM]Going to pots: how to contain your feelings

What fits with spring more than flowers? Indeed, freshly blooming flora practically define the season, but getting fresh flowers in the heart of the concrete jungle is never easy. And even if you do get a few cut flowers for your desk, they'll wilt so quickly it hardly seems worthwhile.

Fortunately, there's a solution for long-term flower appreciation the flowerpot. Decorating your desk at work or in the library is being rediscovered by younger people.

"It has been less than two years since flowerpots came out of the closet," said Lee Young-hee, who runs a posh little flower shop in Sinchon called Milal. But her business is more than just simple black plastic or red-brown pots. Those are yesterday's buds. Instead, today's pots are as beautiful and diverse as the flowers that go inside.

In Ms. Lee's shop, the most sought-after flowerpot is a simple but classy white porcelain design. "Even though it's the same royal azalea, the price doubles if it's in the porcelain pot," Ms. Lee said. The white porcelain pot as a gift is completed with ivory and pink ribbons.

This new interest has also influenced the kind of flowers that fill the new-style pots. Currently, plants with spectacular flowers such as the hyacinth and the narcissus, which go well with those new and fashionable pots, are tops. Herbs such as lemon grass and peppermint in red-brown pots have waned in popularity. Narcissus in a plain black plastic pot costs 3,000 won ($2.30), and the price soars to 5,000 won when potted in white porcelain.

Incidentally, in flower language, the narcissus means, "Stay as sweet as you are." If you are going to be giving flowers, never forget that each genus and species has meaning. Giving larkspur to someone you love just would not do at all. (Of course, everybody knows larkspur stands for infidelity.)

Hyacinth, which comes in a riot of colors, became especially popular this spring. "I recommend hyacinth because each color yellow, purple, blue, white and red has a specific meaning," Ms. Lee explains.

Flowers with a Korean flavor are also popular, as long as they match well with the newly designed pots. Ms. Lee adapted royal azaleas, which usually grow in large batches, to the fashionable pot. Royal azaleas are also one of the easiest plants to grow. "You don't have to have a green thumb if you have royal azaleas, which are just as lovely with their green leaves after the flower petals are gone."

Lee Sung-hoon, a senior at Yonsei University, told the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition, "The other day my girlfriend, after a huge fight, gave me a potted purple hyacinth. I didn't know at first that it meant 'I'm sorry,' but once I did, I was impressed."

The following day, he bought a narcissus for her. Perhaps he wanted her to stay as sweet as she was? Affection reblossomed, thanks to their herbaceous presents.

Flowerpots cost 3,000 won and up, but rarely do they top 10,000 won at most stores.

by Chun Su-jin

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