On view October-November
Dozens of varieties of chrysanthemums appear in the courtyard in late October. Japanese-style single-stem chrysanthemums mix with traditional types in an explosion of color and texture.
To create this unique exhibit, Museum gardeners and volunteers work from June to October using Japanese cultivation methods to create a single stalk and a single flower on each specimen plant. Over the spring and summer, each plant is pinched weekly (this is called disbudding) and fertilized at specific intervals. This style, which produces a large single bloom, is called ogiku.
The Japanese technique of training chrysanthemums became popular in the West around the turn of the century. Within Isabella Gardner’s lifetime, many chrysanthemums were grown on her Brookline estate, Green Hill, and won awards at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s fall flower shows. The Museum later won top awards from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for its chrysanthemums in 1934 and 1936.
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as an herb in ancient China and arrived in Japan in the 8th Century. Cultivation of the flower was originally permitted only in the gardens of the emperor and the nobility. They were introduced to the western world in the 17th Century. Today, sumptuous festivals are held in celebration of the flower throughout Japan.
The Chrysanthemums display is made possible in part by the Barbara Millen and Markley H. Boyer Endowment Fund for Horticulture. The Museum thanks Longwood Gardens and the Botanic Garden of Smith College for their generous donations of single-stem chrysanthemum cuttings for the 2014 Chrysanthemums display.
The Courtyard features plants that are actively growing and constantly changing. Courtyard images include plants that are representative of each display, but plants will be added or replaced over the life of the display.
© 2015 flower portraits
Photography / Design – Siena Scarff Design
Writing / Research – JoAnn Robinson, Ann Uppington
Horticulture – Stan Kozak, Taylor Johnston