• Post published:11/11/2009
  • Post comments:6 Comments
Kiku exhibit
Kiku exhibit

I went to the NYBGfor the roses but I got chrysanthemums, kiku, too. This is the third and final year for this extraordinary exhibit of Japanese chrysanthemum art forms set up at the Enid Haupt Conservatory courtyards.

Kengai or cascade
Kengai or cascade

I was familiar with this form, Kengai, because similar cascades are created for our local Smith College Chrysanthemum show. All season long a single chrysanthemum plant is trained through wire mesh, pinched and artfully pinched again to create this waterfall of bloom.

Ozukuri or One Thousand Blooms
Ozukuri or One Thousand Blooms

There are not actually one thousand blooms in this Ozukuri form, but again, a single (yes, single1) plant is trained on a form and pinched so that over the course of 11 months this amazing form is created. Because the blooms are so heavy, at a certain point each blossom is provided with a support to hold it in place.

I took this photo in the greenhouse where it was easier to see the metal rods that made up the structural support and the little supports for each blossom.


The third and final form of chrysanthemum ‘sculptures’ (I don’t know exactly what to call these forms) is ranks of tall chrysanthemums, each plant trained to a single stem and blossom and arranged in diagonal rows by height.

Those artful forms might have been the most spectacular elements of this exhibit, but they were not the whole. Almost every class of chrysanthemum was on display.


This particular chrysanthemum has three types of petals that change as the blossom matures to resemble ‘Driving Rain.’

Driving Rain is amazing, but I’m partial to the spider mums, and I think I might be able to grow these in my own garden.

Several Bonsai forests were on display as well.

The combination of rare scarlet Japanese maples with golden mums gave an idea of what a Japanese garden might look like at this time of the year.

After looking at so many different elements of the Japanese autumn garden I was particularly enchanted to see an arrangement to give an impressionistic view of the Japanese mountains with forests in their autumnal dress.  I was told that last year’s exhibit showed the mountains in snow – the snow being all white chrysanthemums.

I was lucky to see this exhibit which will not be held next year, but special exhibits are always a part of the NYBG year. Next is the annual Train Show, where electric trains run through a familiar city landscape, except that all the buildings are made of plant materials. If you are in the area this is not something you want to miss.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Frances

    Oh my goodness, Pat, so much to froth at the mouth over here! I love the thousand flower mum, but that last shot of the mountainside in miniature blew me away! What a shame it won’t be held again, but there will be other displays just as wonderful I am sure. I love the spiders too and will be watching to see if you can grow them. 🙂

  2. Carol

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your trip Pat… I love the colors and forms especially in the last shot. Carol

  3. admin

    Frances – The miniature mountain scene was one of my favorite parts of the exhibit. You can be sure I’ll show off the spiders if I am successful.
    Carol, It was a great trip. Botanical gardens are so inspiring.

  4. Kate

    Wow!! Inspiring!

  5. Most amazing thing I’ve seen. The work and preparation is just commendable. Thank you for sharing. Doesn’t it make you excited to run back and share it with us? Sometimes I can’t wait to get it from the lens to the screen.

  6. admin

    Anna- It’s true. I love having this way to share the amazing gardens I get to visit.

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