The history of the chrysanthemum originates in China, where they were cultivated as far back as 15th century BC. Although they were initially grown as an herbal remedy for headache relief, today these beautiful flowers are prized for their vivid colors, as well as their varied sizes and shapes.
According to the FTD website (and who knows flowers better?), “From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Soon after its introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. “Kiku” is the Japanese name for chrysanthemum and every year there is a National Chrysanthemum Day which is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.”
While the Japanese may be happy enough to enjoy a National Chrysanthemum Day, fabled Longwood Gardens in Longwood, Pennsylvania goes a bit further. Now through November 13, 2022, Longwood is hosting its annual Chrysanthemum Festival – an event that never fails to surprise and delight.
This fall, the Gardens are all about vibrancy and imagination. According to Longwood, “We stretch our horticultural limits by nurturing and training specialty chrysanthemum forms, all bursting with color from start to finish, making for a radiant Conservatory bursting with personality.
During my recent trip (or annual fall pilgrimage, if you prefer), I was struck, not just by the color and beauty of the flowers, but by the incredible diversity. In the Main Conservatory, a veritable rainbow of hues was on display, in every size and petal configuration imaginable from tiny button mums, to enormous “football mums” (which remind me of my college homecoming corsages), plus everything in between.
The ability to manipulate the chrysanthemums was also oh-so-aspirational. From topiary towers, to suspended spheres, to strikingly beautiful chrysanthemum bonsai in the Peirce-du Pont House Conservatory, it was hard to believe that one flower could take so many, and such different, forms.
I am incredibly spoiled because this world-class destination is located a mere 20 minutes from my home. And, as a longtime Member, I can visit for each new seasonal display (or just to meet a friend for a lovely walk). But, if you are not from the area, this fabulous destination should be added to your itinerary if you are in headed anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic.
And, lest you think that chrysanthemums are the only flowers on display… think again. From the boxwood hedges, to the Flower Walk, to the wildflower meadow, and so much more – there is truly something for everyone. I’ve shown just a few examples here. For a bit more history and a list of what to see at Longwood Gardens visit my post Longwood Gardens: USA’s Best Botanical Garden.
Ready to experience this must-see event? Click to learn more and visit Longwood Gardens.
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