Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum, the elaborate flower show and cultural exhibition, returns to The New York Botanical Garden from October 18 through November 16. Last year, tens of thousands of visitors discovered the exquisite beauty of kiku—meticulously cultivated chrysanthemums in a traditional Japanese art that had never been seen before on this scale outside Japan. New features to this year’s month-long show include a new kiku variety as one of four styles on display in the Courtyards of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and a new bamboo sculpture by artist Tetsunori Kawana. Bonsai will be on display in the Conservatory’s Seasonal Galleries until November 2 and in the Conservatory Courtyards until November 16.
New this year, Kiku and Cocktails offers visitors the chance to see the kiku displays during evening hours. On Fridays during the exhibition, October 24 and 31, and November 7 and 14, from 6 to 8 p.m., visitors can enjoy the Kiku flowers beautifully lit for a magnificent evening experience. A dramatic performance by Taiko Masala drummers in the Leon Levy Visitor Center begins the night. Guests can purchase a drink and stroll through the displays in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyards while enjoying traditional shakuhachi (flute) music, then cap off the evening with a Japanese meal in the Visitor Center Café. Beer, wine, and sake will be available for purchase. The cost is $10 for Members and $20 for non-members.
New Display Of Edo Variety
The flower show in the Haupt Conservatory Courtyards will feature distinct styles of kiku and other Japanese garden plants, including maples and bamboos. This year, Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum will display four traditional styles of the Japanese chrysanthemum, highlighted by dramatic shapes, vibrant colors, and numerous blossoms.
The ozukuri (“thousand bloom” plants) feature hundreds of—if not quite a “thousand”—simultaneous blossoms in massive, domed-shaped arrays, all from a single plant. Another type, ogiku (“single-stem” plants), ranging up to six feet in height, present one single, perfect flower balanced atop the stem. Dozens of ogiku are arranged in diagonal lines to form disciplined color patterns. A third type, kengai (“cascades”), feature dramatic waterfall-like frames covered by small-flowered chrysanthemums.
New this year is a fourth style, shino-tsukuri, which displays Edo variety chrysanthemums (Edo is the ancient name for Tokyo), interesting shaped mums with blossoms that open wide, accentuating the two different colors of the flower inside and out. Each flower has three kinds of petalsâ€•quill, spoon, and flat. As the flower ages, the flat center petals curl inward like a pinwheel, dramatically changing the appearance of the entire flower. Each plant is trained with 27 thin rods into a shape that looks like “driving rain” (shino-tsuku), giving this form its name.
Integral to the chrysanthemum display will be traditional Japanese garden pavilions or uwaya built according to centuries-old construction techniques utilizing bamboo and rope accented with swags of purple cloth and red tassels. In addition to providing shelter for the plants, these structures create an atmosphere of Japanese elegance and style.
New Bamboo Sculpture
A popular feature of last year’s Kiku exhibition was the towering bamboo sculpture by artist Tetsunori Kawana. This year, Kawana has designed a new monumental art piece made of bamboo that will evoke the image of clouds suspended above tall stalks in the Haupt Conservatory Courtyards.
Kiku Matsuri and Kiku
The Botanical Garden again will present Kiku Matsuri, a range of multi-disciplinary programming, including performances, workshops, demonstrations, an audio walking tour, and guided tours. In addition to the popular events from last year, such as ikebana demonstrations and traditional Japanese dance and music performances, new programming this year includes a kimono fashion show, sushi demonstrations, and calligraphy workshops.
Kiku for Kids, in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, features an array of hands-on activities for children and families that explore different aspects of traditional Japanese culture, including a tea ceremony just for children inside a beautiful replica of an authentic Japanese teahouse.