Fall Chrysanthemum Show

November 5, 2016:

Every autumn as the fall color fades in the countryside, almost every shade of the rainbow can be seen inside the Lyman Conservatory at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. At the annual Chrysanthemum Show, oversized blooms reach eight inches across, and floral walls of color fill the greenhouses with brightly colored chrysanthemums. This stunning showcase is unlike any garden mums you have ever seen. The dazzling display has become a long-standing Smith College tradition, dating back over 100 years.

Starting in the early 1900s as a showcase for the hybridizing experiments of the horticulture class, the Chrysanthemum Show has been a popular college and community tradition. Today, the tradition continues with a display of chrysanthemums that were hybridized by last year’s horticulture students. Visitors are invited to vote for their favorite blooms.

To kick off the Chrysanthemum Show, naturalist, writer, and former host of Field Notes Laurie Sanders will take you on a tour of the natural history of Northampton, with special emphasis on the Smith College campus. Sanders shows that what makes Northampton more interesting than most cities and towns is its rich and varied geologic and human history. She will enlighten us about Edward Lyman, benefactor of the Botanic Garden’s Lyman Plant House, and will show us where he lived. You’ll come away with a new understanding of our surroundings and how things came to be the way they are. The lecture will take place on Friday, November 4 at 7:30 pm, in Seelye Hall 106. A reception at the Lyman Plant House with a preview of the Fall Chrysanthemum Show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory follows the talk.

Additionally, a concurrent exhibit is on display in the Church Exhibition Gallery in the Lyman Plant House. Plant Adaptations Up Close: A Biological and Artistic Interpretation explores how plants have evolved adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive in many challenging environments. Biological explanations and artistic photography by Joan Wiener allow viewers to examine the resourcefulness and beauty of the plant kingdom. Viewers will delve deep into a microscopic realm unseen by the naked eye. It includes 3-D images, so put on the 3-D glasses and enjoy!

The Chrysanthemum Show opens to the public on Saturday, November 5, and runs through Sunday, November 20. Regular hours are from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm daily with special hours on Fridays, November 11 and 18, 10:00am to 8:00 pm. The suggested donation is $5.00.

The Chrysanthemum Show is wheelchair accessible, and parking is available along College Lane in front of the Lyman Conservatory for the duration of the show.