Cascade chrysanthemums have long been at the heart of Longwood Gardens' annual Chrysanthemum Festival. Longwood grows specialty mums (Chrysanthemum x moriflorum) that originated in China and Japan and are selected for their ability to create beautiful and lasting forms. Over the years, Longwood's amazing show of form and color has been continually modified and refined. Guests marvel at the captivating shapes and often ask us how we create these wonderful pieces of horticulture. The following is meant to highlight a little behind-the-scenes action and hint at some of the spectacular forms you will see this November in our Conservatory.
Our cannas are being threatened! Plants all around the world are being infected by viruses that can affect the beauty of the plants and can eventually lead to death. Unchecked, this could lead to the end of cannas. Do I have your attention? Well, don’t panic because here at Longwood we have some projects underway that will hopefully give new life to the beautiful canna!
Stop by the "Frog Hollow" area, to the West of the Chimes Tower to view the turf grass trial. Although simple in scope, this 5-year study could have a dramatic eco-friendly outcome for Longwood Gardens. Currently, staff mow the turf areas about once a week during the growing season—and there are a lot of turf areas throughout Longwood Gardens! If this study proves fruitful, then Longwood could replace some of its turf with a grass from this study and drastically reduce mowing in portions of the garden. This will greatly reduce fuel consumption and mower vehicle emissions.
On March 13 and 14, 2010, Longwood Gardens hosted its first Clivia Show, complete with a lecture segment. It turned out to be a wet weekend with almost constant rain. The weather, however, did not dampen the festivities.
Kurume, Japan was the 2010 host city of the biannual meeting of The International Camellia Society. Kurume is a small town in Kyushu, which is the southern most of the four main islands of Japan. I attended the meeting to present information on Longwood Gardens' camellia breeding program and to network with other camellia researchers.