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Longwood Gardens’ Thousand Bloom Mum is Largest in North America!
by Louise R. Eliason, Coordinator, Greater Philadelphia Gardens - posted 11/15/2011
The Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum is one of horticulture’s greatest feats.
On November 8, 2011, Longwood Gardens welcomed the Ozukuri masters from Japan to share their celebration for having grown the largest Thousand Bloom chrysanthemum in North America—1,167 perfectly, flowering blooms on just one stem.
Displayed prominently at the East Conservatory entrance, the Thousand Bloom mum is the starry white beacon to Longwood Gardens’ vibrant Chrysanthemum Festival of 20,000 mums. The Thousand Bloom chrysanthemum is the single biggest horticulture undertaking for Longwood Gardens. That’s almost unimaginable.
A look at Longwood Gardens’ behind-the-scenes video shows how their diverse and impressive team led by Yoho Arakawa collaborated over the 17 month growing cycle. It took a village to cultivate, nurture, support and transport this perfectly blooming plant to its place of prominence at Longwood Gardens’ Chrysanthemum Festival for their opening day. From its special soil made from scratch to the handcrafted 9 foot diameter metal frame that grew to support all 1,167 blooms and to transport it within just one inch on either side of the doorway to the conservatory, Longwood gives the term "nerves of steel" a whole new meaning.
This ancient Japanese technique originated 200 hundred years ago, and today, only a few artisans in the world remain skilled in this art form. Since 1995, Longwood Gardens horticulturists have traveled to Japan to study with the world’s masters to learn this rare technique that is close to extinction. It’s one of the world’s horticulture wonders, now in bloom through November 20, 2011.