Kiku: Japanese Chrysanthemums

November 2012, 10 a.m-4 p.m. In the Bourke-Sullivan Display House

The chrysanthemum, kiku in Japanese, is the most celebrated of all Japanese fall-flowering plants. Here in the Bourke-Sullivan Display House, hundreds of meticulously trained chrysanthemums can be found in both modern and ancient styles.

Kiku arrived in Japan from China in the 4th century. The Japanese emperor was so smitten with the kiku flower that he adopted it as his personal crest, and it remains the insignia of the Imperial family today.

The techniques that produce the well-known traditional forms of kiku display can also be used to develop increasingly inventive new shapes. The horticulturists here at The New York Botanical Garden have grown several exciting new shapes this year. New stylistic interpretations, including a bridge, spirals, a chrysanthemum house, and a bonsai-like chrysanthemum tree, are displayed alongside more traditional forms such as kengai (cascade) and ozukuri (thousand bloom).

Kodai Nakazawa oversees the training of chrysanthemums at The New York Botanical Garden in preparation for their spectacular fall display. Nakazawa came to the Botanical Garden from the Shinjuku Goyen National Garden in Tokyo, where he was a chrysanthemum specialist. In more than five years at the Garden, Nakazawa has assembled a team of dedicated horticulturists who spend nearly the entire year caring for these special plants.