A Festival of Fabulous Mums

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

A bright spot from last week was a trip with friends to Duke Gardens in Durham, NC for a flower show entitled A Festival of Fabulous Mums.

This was the first year for the 4-day festival, which was presented jointly by Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society and Duke Gardens. Open to the public with no admission charge, the event included cultural and historical information, growing tips and supporting activities (arts and crafts, games for children).

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemums have been featured (or at least mentioned) on several blogs recently and from reading the posts and the comments it is clear, although some folks love them, these flowers seem to leave many people cold.

Easily available in at garden centers, big box stores and florists. perhaps they are viewed as ubiquitous or common, and of course, they are often used in funeral sprays.

That people carry such strong opinions about them made me more interested in seeing the show. As one might expect, however, these are not the potted mums one finds in the grocery store.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Enthusiastic members from the Chrysanthemum Society were on hand to offer gardening tips and answer questions.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

The flowers were expertly presented. We attended on the last day of the festival so blooms were not all at their best, but most showed quite well. The range of sizes, shapes and colors were striking.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

This mauve flower had it all.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

A poster was on display in the room illustrating the flower show classes (categories).

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

The entries were not judged. Instead visitors were given a ticket at the door and encouraged to vote for their favorite by placing the ticket in the little boxes in front of each display.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Should I admit most fascinating were the flamboyant spoon, quill, brush and spidery chrysanthemums? I should have paid more attention to the plant varieties and flower classes— my camera became a distraction from this opportunity to learn more about the flowers themselves.

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Chrysanthemum Show At Duke Gardens

Society members also led tours of the William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, where more mums were on display in a serene garden setting. Passing on the guided tour we made our own way toward the Asiatic garden. We found the chrysanthemum garden display fairly sparse, the autumn blooming camellias were easily more stimulating.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Their spicy sweetness drifted through the air, inviting us to pause and enjoy.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

I had not seen this part of the garden since its extensive renovation, but am already devising a return trip to explore it further.

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Asiatic Arboretum, Duke Gardens

Finally, making a rare blog appearance…
Susie At Duke Gardens

I wish you a happy weekend.

22 thoughts on “A Festival of Fabulous Mums

  1. theshrubqueen

    Fantastic! I loved the mums and the garden! Hello to you as well. I was always fascinated with the Spider Mums, but the Football Mums wonderful as well. Which one was the winner?

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the mum tour and hello to you also. I’d forgotten about those football mums. In high school they were all the rage for homecoming.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    Some are quite amazing in their intricacy, but I still can’t warm to them! The camellias are much more my cup of tea. In fact the Duke Gardens look really lovely at this time of year altogether. Lovely to see a photo of you too 🙂 – it feels like I have finally met you in person! Well, almost! 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Nice we have (almost) met properly. Have to admit I prefer the camellias too, but the show was fun. This garden never disappoints. There were staff or maybe volunteers arranging boxes and boxes of bulbs within the planting beds. Don’t envy them that chore in the quantities they had.

      Reply
  3. An Eye For Detail

    I had this notice tacked up, right in front of me, for many weeks. But no, I never made it there. Such a shame. My bad. Oh Susie, it looks fabulous. I’m not a huge fan, but maybe this would have changed my mind, if just a bit!!! Thank you for posting this. And I’ll see you on Tuesday.

    Reply
  4. Kris P

    Mums get no respect here, probably because all our stores and garden centers ever seem to carry are the most ordinary of varieties. I love the spider and spoon varieties and wish I could find them, even in cut flower form, here every time I see them pop up in autumn blog posts. Nice to “see” you. It gives me a better chance of recognizing you upon arrival at the Fling next year!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It will be fun to meet you at Fling, Kris. These varieties of flowers are not available in shops around here either. There was info about where to order seeds but I didn’t pick up any of the literature.

      Reply
  5. Christina

    There are some lovely blooms here, I liked the ‘spidery’ ones a lot. One of the problems with mums for me is their very solid form, which makes an arrangement heavy. The lighter forms would solve that problem but I’ve never seen any like that here.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It would be fun to create arrangements with these specialized blooms. Many were huge. I imagine most are only available as seed. Since I rarely use seeds myself, I didn’t take time to get the seed sources for these kinds of chrysanthemums.

      Reply
  6. bittster

    Nice to see you!
    What a beautiful collection and display, I’m glad you took the time to photograph it as well as you did, I would have been the opposite and been too distracted!
    Did it seem like the majority of the blooms were grown at the gardens or were many contributed by society members? It seems like growing these would be a huge commitment and even though they don’t all thrill me it’s nice to see this level of obsession out in the general public 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks. Oh, I definitely think these were grown by the society members. One woman whisked me off to the information table to show me a magazine feature of her mums grown in her tiny backyard. It’s nice to see gardeners passionate and have them share their passion with the public.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I thought the wire support was pretty interesting too Eliza. The first thing I did was try to smell some of the chrysanthemums on display and the hostesses laughed. All the scent has been bred away.

      Reply
      1. Eliza Waters

        Just like roses. 😦 Have you ever had chrysanthemum tea? A nearby Japanese restaurant serves it – it’s quite good. I guess you have to get it from Japan where they have the original species.

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