Longwood Gardens Presents Blooms & Bamboo: Chrysanthemum and Ikebana Sogetsu Artistry

August 7, 2019
Headmistress of Sogetsu School travels from Japan to create her largest display in the United States

August 7, Kennett Square, PA – Longwood Gardens today announced Blooms & Bamboo: Chrysanthemum and Ikebana Sogetsu Artistry, a new display featuring masterworks of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, on view October 3–November 17. Created by the Sogetsu School of Ikebana Headmaster Akane Teshigahara, the exhibit will feature two large-scale displays of bamboo and natural elements showcased amid the jaw-dropping splendor of Longwood’s conservatory featuring thousands of blooming chrysanthemums trained into imaginative forms and shapes by Longwood’s own horticulture masters. Tickets are on sale now at longwoodgardens.org.

The time-honored Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana highlights the fleetingness and constancy of nature’s cycles, representing the brevity of life. Dating back centuries, Ikebana embodies the appreciation and sensitivity to nature that the Japanese culture is known for. Sogetsu is one of many schools, or styles, of Ikebana

“Using our Conservatory as the inspiration and the canvas, Headmaster Akane Teshigahara has created an imaginative and never-before-seen visual experience. Combined with our staff’s horticulture expertise for growing chrysanthemums in traditional Asian-inspired forms, Blooms & Bamboo promises to be an exquisite display that celebrates these two Japanese horticultural art forms in a way only Longwood can,” said President and CEO, Paul B. Redman.

The imaginative display features 635 rods of bamboo manipulated into twisting, spiraling, and intertwined natural works of art that will reach heights of 10 to 15 feet.

“Although I have created bamboo installations in a variety of styles in Japan and around the world for more than 20 years, the two installations planned for Longwood will be the greatest and finest of all, both in terms of scale and bamboo manipulation techniques,” Teshigahara explained.

Schools of Ikebana
In all, there are more than 1,000 schools of Ikebana. The oldest known school is Ikenobo, which began around the 15th century at the Rokkaku-do temple in Kyoto where the first style arrangement was created called the “Rikka” or stand-up style. For many centuries, this technique was passed down from master to master. During the Japanese Renaissance from 1400 to 1568, Ikebana became a formal art. Over the next few hundred years, Ikebana continued to grow and develop, with new schools forming.

In 1927, Sofu Teshigahara began to question established rules and traditions of Ikebana and founded the Sogetsu School, becoming its first Iemoto (the founder or current Grand Master of a certain school of traditional Japanese art). The Sogetsu School focuses more on free expression and is based on the belief that Ikebana can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, by anyone. The Sogetsu philosophy encourages Ikebana students to be individual and imaginative and aim for a contemporary effect that is refreshing and inspirational. Akane Teshigahara is the fourth Iemoto of the Sogetsu School.

Blooms & Bamboo Programming
Throughout Blooms & Bamboo, Longwood will offer a free guided tour of the glorious chrysanthemum display and the Ikebana Sogetsu masterworks of Iemoto Akane Teshigahara. Guests will learn about these two ancient Japanese horticultural artforms and the creative inspiration, collaboration, and planning that brought this unique display to life. The Spotlight Tours: Blooms & Bamboo take place Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:30 am and 12:30 pm.

Blooms & Bamboo opens October 3 through November 17 and is free with Gardens admission. For complete details and information, visit longwoodgardens.org/blooms-bamboo.

About Akane Teshigahara
Akane Teshigahara was born in 1960, the second daughter of Hiroshi Teshigahara, film director, and third Iemoto of the Sogetsu School. Her grandfather is Sofu Teshigahara, the first Iemoto. In her early childhood, Akane studied Ikebana with her aunt and second Iemoto Kasumi Teshigahara. In 1989, Akane inaugurated “Akane Junior Class” with the hope of giving children a chance to develop their sensibility through Ikebana. In 2000, as the leader of Sogetsu, Akane planned and produced a street exhibition “Sogetsu Hana Avenue” in Omotesando, Tokyo wishing to convey the charm of Ikebana to a wider range of people. The “Sogetsu Hana Avenue” exhibition would continue on for six consecutive years. Akane is now expanding her activities in various fields including stage arts, jewelry design, and collaborations with dancers, musicians, calligraphers, and other artists. With her fresh and original sensibility, Akane has established her own style by being in tune with the times. There are more than 120 Sogetsu chapters in 38 countries and regions around the world.

About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,100 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship and community engagement. Open daily, Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit longwoodgardens.org.