1995 Fall Garden Flowers
- Third issue in the Garden Flowers Series
32¢ First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue:
September 19, 1995
First Day City(s):
Quantity Issued (if known):
Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Offset (flower images) Intaglio (type)
Booklet of 20 stamps. Four booklet panes of 5 stamp strips.
Why the stamps were issued:
These stamps were issued as the third installment of the Garden Flower Series. The first two in the series were spring and then summer flowers. Each stamp fulfilled the then-current first-class postage rate of 32¢.
About the stamp design:
The stamps were designed by artist Ned Seidler, who had designed the1993 and 1994 garden flowers. The flowers featured (asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and hydrangeas) and considered by some to be found blooming in a garden in the later summer to fall. Seidler tried a new technique for this seten, painting the flowers separate from one another instead of looking like they were in one bouquet. This proved to look a bit bland and the stamp committee wouldn’t approve it. Seidler then painted them as he had before, with all the flowers looking like part of the same bouquet and it was if they came to life.
The painting was a combination of watercolor and gouache. Gouache is a thicker, opaque form of watercolor.
First Day City:
The ceremony was held at the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, California.
Unusual fact about this stamp:
There were some customers who questioned the inclusion of the hydrangea into the set of fall flowers. Some said their hydrangea bloomed in late spring or early summer. Elizabeth A. Altobell, the project manager, said “It’s not scientific. It’s meant to be more for mass-market appeal, as opposed to botanical.”
About the Garden Flowers Series:
On May 15, 1993, the USPS issued the first installment in the Garden Flower Series, which would honor flowers that bloom in each of the four seasons.
This series was born out of the 1992 Wildflowers issue. That project had begun when the USPS asked an artist to produce color sketches of a group of garden flowers. Instead, the artist gave the USPS illustrations of wildflowers. The USPS liked them so much, it decided to create a 50-stamp pane, showing wildflowers that can be found in each state.
The USPS still liked the garden flowers idea. Part of the push behind these stamps had come from the sale of stamps in supermarkets and other retailers. People said they wanted “bright, pretty American stamps.” The USPS decided flower booklets would please the public. It ran TV commercials and full-page advertisements in stamp publications announcing “The flowers are in bloom at your post office. Buy them while they last!” and “Pick up a bunch.” The Garden Flowers booklet was the first to be produced on the new Goebel booklet machine, which was the first to print multicolor covers.
The stamps were issued on May 15, 1993, in Spokane, Washington at the 55th annual Spokane Lilac Festival and International Lilac Society Convention. Though not announced at the time, these stamps were to be the first in a new series of seasonal flower booklets.
The second booklet in the series was issued on April 28, 1994, at the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, Flower and Garden Show. It featured summer garden flowers.
The third booklet in the series was issued on September 19, 1995, at the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, California. This booklet featured fall blooms.
The final booklet in the series was issued on January 19, 1996, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The flowers selected for these stamps are the hardiest plants that grow anywhere in the country that experiences winter weather.
History the stamp represents:
Asters are members of the daisy family and thrive as wild or as cultivated flowers. Named after the Greek word for “star,” legends say Virgo sowed them from stardust. Another legend says they sprang from the tears of the goddess Asterea, who grieved upon seeing a devastated Earth after the great Flood. Also known as “starwort” and “eye of Christ,” asters were long believed to have magical powers. In ancient Greece, wreaths of asters adorned the altars of all the gods. Down through the centuries, some people burned aster leaves to keep away evil spirits, while others ground aster roots to cure sickly bees and the bite of mad dogs.
Europeans discovered over 200 varieties of aster in North America. In 1637, John Tradescant, Jr. introduced these “star flowers” to Europe and they soon became a favorite garden flower. Two very popular asters are the New England and the New York varieties. The showy Chinese aster, while similar, is not really an aster at all.
Most asters are perennials that come in a variety of colors and bloom in late summer or early fall. One, dark purple variety, blooms in late September, coinciding with the Feast of St. Michael, and is known as the Michaelmas daisy.
Chrysanthemums, native to Africa as well as Asia, are without question the flower of the East. They’ve been cultivated and cherished in China for over 2,000 years and in Japan almost as long. Their noble image appears on porcelain, in textiles, and on wood.
In China, Juxian was named the “City of Chrysanthemums” in A.D. 400 because it was the home of the flower’s greatest cultivator. Until quite recently, only the nobility could grow the showy flower. The sixteen-petalled Hironishi chrysanthemum was so loved in Japan, it became the emblem of the emperor in 797 and the national flower in 910. Today, Japan’s October chrysanthemum festival is the fall counterpart of its spring cherry blossom festival.
Chrysanthemums were introduced into Europe and America in the early 19th century. Using Latin and Greek, European botanists gave this member of the daisy family the name “golden flower.” The name remains even though today’s mums come in all sizes and colors except blue. Each blossom is made up of multiple independent flowers that can appear as a tiny, tightly packed pompon or an elegant 8-inch corsage. Florists now produce chrysanthemums throughout the year – a testimony to the flower’s universal appeal.
The dahlia shows how plants were dispersed worldwide during the age of exploration. Naturalist Francisco Hernandez sent some native Mexican flowers to Philip II of Spain. Captivated by the blood-red beauties, the king decreed them a Spanish possession, forbidding their removal from the royal gardens. But the living treasure could not be hoarded. Soon, dahlias appeared throughout Europe. They were named in honor of Andreas Dahl, pupil of Linneaus, originator of the scientific classification system.
Europe entered a dahlia craze. In 1838 a single plant was exchanged for a rare diamond; later, a £1,000 prize was offered for a blue dahlia. Fifty years after the dahlia’s arrival, over 2,000 hybrids had been developed from the single Mexican species. Besides adorning gardens, dahlia tubers were used for medicinal purposes. High in fructose, they helped in the treatment of diabetes, as well as kidney and liver diseases.
The dahlia (cocoxochitl) was sacred to the Aztecs. This blood-red flower symbolized the mother of their war god. Because the blooms had eight petals, human sacrifice to the god occurred every eight years. Ironically, another legend associated the cocoxochitl with Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of peace.
The flowering shrubs of the hydrangea have beautified many homes with large, showy, snowball-like flowers. These airy snowballs, really clusters of hundreds of tiny flowers, have been popular so long they’re regarded as old-fashioned flowers. Some varieties reach heights of 30 feet while other varieties are superb for landscaping. Hydrangea are native to North and South America, China, and Japan; thus, they arrived in Europe from both directions.
One particular variety, the hydrangea hortensis, has an intriguing story. By 1768, several Europeans had already circled the globe – but no Frenchman had. Louis XV ordered Louis de Bougainville to do so and to search for interesting plants enroute. The elderly botanist Commerson and his young assistant Baret accompanied Bougainville.
After a kidnapping attempt by a Tahitian chieftain, Commerson learned Baret was a woman named Hortense. He was so embarrassed, he never returned home. Hortense eventually returned to France with pink hydrangea from Japan. The shrubs, belonging to the French crown, were duly handed over to Empress Josephine. Planted in iron-enriched soil, they produced the blue flowers later named after Hortense.
Rudbeckias are those beloved flowers with yellow petals radiating from central black disks – known as “Black-eyed Susans” to most people. Native to North America, rudbeckias brighten our roadways, meadows, and mountainsides as well as cultivated gardens. Rudbeckias were named to honor the Swedish physician and botanist Rudbeck, founder of the botanical garden of Uppsala. Rudbeck’s assistant was Linneaus, the man responsible for our classification system of plants and animals.
Like all members of the compositae family, each bloom is not one, but many flowers. The dark central disk is a flower as is each petal that radiates from it.
Flowers have long been cultivated for food, medicine, fragrance, and dyes. In Europe, life was harsh during the Middle Ages, with everyone focusing on spiritual rather than worldly matters. The Renaissance changed all that and people began studying man and the world around them. Horticulture was one of many scientific endeavors in which the nobility actively participated. Because of those efforts, the world enjoys more varieties of flowers than ever before. Today, ordinary people can cultivate flowers for pleasure – once an exclusive privilege of royalty and wealth.