During one of my rotations as a Professional Gardener student, I was fortunate enough to work on the bonsai chrysanthemums for this year's Chrysanthemum Festival. For anyone interested in bonsai, this is a great way to practice your wiring and pruning techniques, since the mums grow much faster than trees.
In only a few months, you get the chance to wire, unwire, and rewire numerous times.
The mums also require pruning and bud removal almost weekly. The goal of this heavy pinching and pruning is to coax this shrubby plant into a more tree-like appearance.
All of the bonsai mums you'll see this fall were taken from 7-inch terracotta pots, and root-pruned to fit into their smaller homes for display.
This year’s show-stopper, the rock planting, is of particular interest. The three mums on the Japanese waterfall rock not only had to be pruned, but also had to be wired into place.
If you'd like to learn more about what it's like to be an intern or Professional Gardener student at Longwood Gardens, you can follow along with me and my fellow students through our student blog on Tumblr. Check it out to get a behind-the-scenes look at our educational and work experiences at Longwood Gardens.