The Spectacular Art of Japanese Chrysanthemums

Ozukuri. Shino-tsukuri. Bonyo. No, we're not talking about sushi, the latest videogame, or even an ancient form of Japanese theater. We're talking about mums. But as you might suspect, these are not the sort of mums you can jump in the car and buy at your local gardening center (not that there's anything wrong with that kind of mum). No, these are very special mums.

Japanese chrysanthemums have been specially bred over hundreds of years to have very specific traits. Some are tiny, some are huge, but they're all spectacular!

Each of these living flower sculptures is grown from one (yes, we said one) plant, trained and coaxed into dizzying spirals, vast umbrellas, elegant waterfalls, and cloud-like single blooms. The flowers are blooming in shades of creamy white, blush pink, and butter yellow at the Bourke-Sullivan Display House at the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections until November 29 only.

Each plant begins as a single cutting. For the large ozukuri, or umbrella plant, all but five buds were pinched back from the initial stem. The plant was then allowed to grow until it had 464 blossoms and measured 12 feet by 8 feet. In addition to the meticulous cultivation techniques, specific combinations of light and heat were used to bring the flowers into bloom in perfect time for this limited-engagement exhibition.

So come to The New York Botanical Garden's state-of-the-art greenhouses for this rare behind-the-scenes look at one of the world's most fascinating flower arts.

To plan your visit and learn more, click here.