Kiku - Serenity discovered...

by - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amid the autumn hues of pumpkin, ochre and plum, there is a place to encounter softer shades of a season's rite to passage the next in subtle submission. This place is the New York Botanical Garden's Kiku exhibit - The Art of the Japanese Garden. Hundreds of meticulously trained chrysanthemums (kiku) are on display for a limited time in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The Kiku exhibit bows to hanami, the custom of taking pleasure in the beauty of flowers in magnificent display. So in addition to your pumpkin paths and cider donuts, visit the garden before October 26th to witness this horticultural feat firsthand.

Outside the conservatory, many summer blooms are still bright and bodacious.

In China and Japan, chrysanthemums have traditionally been cultivated for medicinal purposes, as kiku are associated in myth with good health and living a long life.

The chrysanthemums are trained to grow in complicated creations. The ozukuri, or "thousand bloom", begins with a small cutting of stem from a mature kiku plant. After planting it in a new pot, it is encouraged to grow five strong stems. Unwanted side branches are then pinched off and the plant is repotted in a wooden container, allowing each branch to be tied on a vertical stake to grow straight up. As the plant grows, its tip is pinched off to let side branches grow. Once the plant reaches six feet in height, its branches are untied and then retied onto an intricate framework. After flower buds form, all but one are removed from each branch.

The bonsai tree is in full bloom. Longer autumn nights allow the flowers to burst into full color for the show's October duration.

Ogiku are traditionally displayed in a stripe design with diagonal rows of perfect pink, yellow and white flowers reminiscent of the pattern on a Japanese emperor's horse bridle.

The bridge-like curved kiku display was created by a new version of the technique used for cascade formations. As the chrysanthemum plant grows, the branches are then carefully woven into the mesh armature of the bridge.

The New York Botanical Garden is one of our favorite places to escape monotony of the everyday and immerse ourselves in beauty.

While kiku is the Japanese word for chrysanthemum, it also means "to hear; to listen; to be told; to obey; to follow". Thus the flower's link to health and long life... For to find true peace, one must hear their inner voice, listen to what it tells and obey the call to follow a personal path. 
Kiku... Serenity discovered in an afternoon... xoxo-Sonya

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