Garden Diary - November 2009

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Kiku at the New York Botanical Garden

Kiku in the Japanese Autumn Garden at The New York Botanical Garden is a month of meticulously
trained flowers in the Imperial Japanese style. Eleven months of effort to appear on stage for two weeks,
replace by the second set and then, I suppose, compost. You have until November 15th to enjoy them.

There are familiar-looking pots of chrysanthmums, their spicy fragrance part of the season.

Enter the conservatory, and the great, dark, circular pool in the palm court offers two cascades
of chrysanthmums dipping down to kiss their mirrored reflection in the water's still surface.


One beautiful chrysanthemum, Snow on Mt. Takachiho.
Thousand blossom style, with 229 flowers. One plant.
Which one is the one you prefer, flower or plant.


They're switching out the ogiku for the second set. Not that the kiku are looking shabby, far from it.
The cool weather has been kind. But there's two days still to go if they disintegrate by November 13.

One stately flower to a plant. First, soak the pot and water well.

The long stem is quite weak. Once cut free from the stake
someone must hold the flower to keep the stem from breaking.

Yuki, kiku sensei to the garden staff, gets down in the hollow to supervise the placement of each plant.
There is a temporary framework to guide their spacing. Each pot is laid on its side and the stem is then
gently curved and brought back to vertical. Each row angles from right to left, and also slants downward
from back to front. They work from both sides to keep the spacing best adjusted. And it takes 5 people
(or more) two days to accomplish the changeover. Not something for the casual backyard gardener.

Supporting the flowers, each with an open wire shelf gently guided under it. Careful, careful.
Eleven months of effort. You do not want to snap the stem as it is fastened to a stake.

Intent. Focus. Attention to detail. Fascinating.

Japanese autumn garden. Beautiful.

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