Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden

Very beautiful. Quite a few years ago a gardener of bonsai chrysanthemums worked his craft at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It was filmed and shown on one of the PBS stations. Maybe this year I will try growing. Thank you for the inspiration.

Recently TheGardenLady received the above comment regarding a post on TheGardenLady blog about chrysanthemums.

For more information about the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens show that was held in October entitled Kiku:The Art of the Japanese Garden you can watch their video above to see how the Botanical garden got ready for the special chrysanthemum show.

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Pruning Chrysanthemums‏

Chrysanthemums all bokehed except one by naruo0720

Chrysanthemums are spectacular this year. There are so many beautiful ones for sale in the stores and nurseries that they are irresistible. If you buy them fully flowered, you can put them in a pretty cache pot or urn to display them. Or you can plant them in the ground.

To be successful and have them return the next year to flower, one grower said that you should be sure to buy farm raised chrysanthemums, not store plants that were forced to bloom this season. And when you buy even the farm raised ones, choose ones that have many buds. Those that are fully flowered have finished their work and may not grow again next year.

Plant them in the ground during cool weather which is what chrysanthemums prefer. In hot weather the flowers will bolt and not open gracefully. In the cool weather the buds will open more slowly to become beautiful flowers while their roots will settle in. And this, the farmer said, will ensure that the plant will return next fall. The chances of forced plants or fully flowered plants to live and produce flowers the next fall are slim to none.  See here.

The farmer’s recommendation to get the beautiful mounds of flowers that growers get on their Chrysanthemums is to cut the plant back three times during the year. The best way to remember the times to cut them back is to remember the three holidays when the pruning time is due. The first date to cut back is on Thanksgiving after the flowers have finished blooming . The second cut back date is when the leaves emerge in the spring and should be done at Easter. And the final date to cut back chrysanthemums before they bloom is on July 4th. Then in the fall you should be rewarded with the beautiful mounds of chrysanthemum flowers you are now seeing in the store.  See here.

Chrysanthemum Bonsai in Japan

Bonsai bon·sai  n. pl. bonsai is the art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small shallow pots or trays. Bonsai appeared first in China over 1000 years ago but once bonsai was introduced into Japan in around the 12th century- some say earlier, the art was refined to an extent not yet approached in China. The word means means a tree planted in a container.  Read this for some history of bonsai.

While in Japan, TheGardenLady visited what is considered one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan which is also one of the most famous gardens in Japan since the Edo Period-for over 300 years. This magnificent garden is called Korakuen and is in Okayama. Because it is Chrysanthemum time, the garden had an exhibit of Chrysanthemum Bonsai.

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Chrysanthemums In Japan

TheGardenLady has just returned from a two week tour of Japan with an artist who was raised in Fukuoka but now lives in the US.  She knows Fukuoka very well and takes small groups with her to visit the area around Fukuoka which included Nagasaki and Kyoto. TheGardenLady was most interested in the flora and gardens of the area and to this end took many photos; but since the tour was not specifically plant oriented, ThisGardenLady would love to return to Japan some day to visit the botanical gardens as well as more of the formal gardens.

This time of year is the chrysanthemum festival. Many of the gardens or shrines have displays of chrysanthemums for visitors to gaze at.

According to Wikipedia “Chrysanthemums were cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.  An ancient Chinese city was named Ju-Xian, meaning “chrysanthemum city”. Then, according to the chrysanthemum society “around  the 8th century A.D., the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan. So taken were the Japanese with this flower that they adopted a single flowered chrysanthemum as the crest and official seal of the Emperor. The chrysanthemum in the crest is a 16-floret variety called “Ichimonjiginu.”

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Christmas Themed Plants


TheGardenLady received this question from Sally:

Are there any other Christmas themed plants other than the mistletoe?

There are numerous Christmas themed plants and there is a long and interesting history of the reasons for the use of these plants during the holiday season. Many of these holiday themed plants are used in the US today. TheGardenLady will touch on some of the most popular Christmas plants. Common holiday plants are listed in this website, where there is a lot of interesting information given besides the list of holiday plants. In other parts of the world they may also use different plants.

The first Christmas plant materials, as told in the New Testament, were Frankincense and Myrrh. Both are resins of trees used as incense or fragrances. They were the most expensive substances in early history and were therefore the highest tribute offered. Both were and are used today as fragrances. Franckincense is from the Boswellia sacra tree and Myrrh is from the Camphor tree, Commiphora myrrha. They are are found in Oman, Yemen and the Northeast part of Somalia. Oman still produces perfumes made of Frankincense or on you can get soap made of Frankincense and Myrrh- All Natural Bath Soap – Frankincense & Myrrh Zum Bar Soap by Indigo Wild, 3oz. or Frankincense and Myrrh can be bought as fragrant oils or for incense.

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