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).
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.
Enthusiastic members from the Chrysanthemum Society were on hand to offer gardening tips and answer questions.
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.
This mauve flower had it all.
A poster was on display in the room illustrating the flower show classes (categories).
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.
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.
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.
Their spicy sweetness drifted through the air, inviting us to pause and enjoy.
I had not seen this part of the garden since its extensive renovation, but am already devising a return trip to explore it further.
I wish you a happy weekend.