College mums….

The poster said Smith College Flower Show – who could resist tracking that down?   Had the GCA or the NGC invaded the  Ivy walls?

Not really….. the historic and beautiful Lyman Conservatory was holding a Chrysanthemum Show. This show was in the great tradition of chrysanthemum shows from Tokyo to New York, albeit on a smaller scale.

My gentle subscribers know I am not a fan of chrysanthemums for flower arrangements (see “Mums the word…” September).  Here, more is more….. and these exuberant displays cheer up gray winter day’s in the Berkshire Hills.

The show had a Madame Butterfly subtext, complete with scorned heroine flying over the mums. One of the stories that inspired Puccini was the novel “Madame Chrysantheme” written by Pierre Lotti.

Many floriferous varieties had been grown and trained to cascade over chicken wire forms.

Some large mums were trained to a single huge bloom on one very long stem,The Spice Girls of the Greenhouse!

In one corner, horticulture students showed new varieties they had bred.  Visitors were asked to vote for a favorite.  The winner goes into the Chrysanthemum Hall of Fame at Smith.

It was a perfect antidote to the first snow storm of the season.  The show closes on November 18th.




About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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