Flowers in New York. Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden Heralds the Fall Season With Stunning Color and Beauty at The New York Botanical Garden.
Final Year to See Magnificent Displays of Meticulously Trained Chrysanthemums, The Most Celebrated of All Japanese Fall-Flowering Plants, in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
Flowers in New York. October 2–26, 2014.
From October 2 through 26, 2014, at The New York Botanical Garden, Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden pays homage to hanami, the traditional custom of enjoying the ephemeral beauty of flowers, with magnificent displays of chrysanthemums. The show features an unforgettable presentation in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory of kiku, the Japanese word for “chrysanthemum,” the most celebrated of all Japanese fall-flowering plants, painstakingly trained to grow in a mesmerizing variety of shapes and styles. With other exhibitions planned for the fall season during the next few years, this is the last chance to see Kiku in the Conservatory for the foreseeable future.
Special weekend events spotlight the arts of bonsai and ikebana, as well as taiko drumming, and celebrate the importance of flowers in Japanese culture. The amazing floral sculptures, combined with all of the Botanical Garden’s natural attractions, beckon visitors to indulge in fall’s exquisite yet fleeting beauty.
Intriguing installations of contemporary styles join traditional kiku displays pioneered by the chrysanthemum masters at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo and re-created by the kiku experts at the Botanical Garden.
Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden provides the opportunity for visitors to learn about the fascinating history of this storied flower as it traveled from its native China to Japan and ultimately to the West.
Contemporary Kiku Styles on Display:
The kiku training techniques that have been used by Japanese gardeners for centuries have been adapted to develop new, experimental styles. The techniques that produce the well-known traditional forms of kiku display can also be used to develop increasingly inventive new shapes. The horticulturists at The New York Botanical Garden have grown several exciting styles this year.
– Bonsai-like Tree
The ancient Japanese art of bonsai, the technique of training and nurturing miniature potted trees and plants to create living sculptures, is celebrated in a new way with an unusual kiku display in which wood from the Garden’s grounds supports a construction of anemone form chrysanthemums trained to mimic the shape of a meticulously manicured bonsai.
The curved form of this bridge-like display is the result of a new application of the training techniques used to form the traditional kengai (cascade). As the chrysanthemum plant grows, the branches are carefully woven into the mesh that forms the armature of the bridge. The chrysanthemums on the upper tier of the bridge are known as spoon form because each floret becomes round and spoon-like at the end. The lower tier consists of single form chrysanthemums.
A chrysanthemum wall is the result of a new application of the kengai training technique. One side contains white blooms, while the other has yellow. The wall features the anemone form, recognizable for the prominent disc at the center of the flower head surrounded by small individual florets.
The topiary-like shapes of cones and cylinders are similar to the traditional ozukuri (thousand bloom). Rather than creating one large, round shape from a single stem, the Botanical Garden team has created a pyramid of different-colored chrysanthemums.
Traditional Kiku Styles Also on Display:
Botanical Garden experts work up to 11 months each year to grow, train, and shape the kiku on display. Cultivated from tiny cuttings, the plants are pinched back, tied to frames, and carefully nurtured. Flower buds develop as the autumn nights grow longer, and in October the plants burst into bloom, a true celebration of the changing of the seasons. During Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden, three traditional kiku styles will be displayed in the Haupt Conservatory:
– Ozukuri (Thousand Bloom): In this highly complex technique, a single stem is trained to produce hundreds of simultaneous blossoms in a massive, dome-shaped array. Ozukuri are planted in specially built wooden containers called sekidai.
– Ogiku (Double and Triple Stem): These plants feature stems that can reach six feet tall, with one perfect bloom balanced on top.
– Kengai (Cascade): This technique features small-flowered chrysanthemums that are more typical of the wild varieties. They are trained to conform to boat-shaped frameworks that cascade downward like waterfalls for lengths of up to six-and-a-half feet. The result is a burst of hundreds of tightly clustered blooms.
About the Kiku Designers:
Kiku expert Yukie Kurashina oversees the training of chrysanthemums at the Garden in preparation for this spectacular fall display. She has been educated by experts from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Francisca P. Coelho, Vivian and Edward Merrin Vice President for Glasshouses and Exhibitions, is best known for her plantsmanship and key role in the design and development of high-profile shows in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
Flowers in New York: http://www.nybg.org/