fans_and_cascadeNORTHAMPTON, Mass.—An eruption of color and fragrance awaits visitors to Smith College’s annual chrysanthemum show November 2-17 in the Lyman Conservatory, College Lane. The event—which is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible—is on view daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Friday evenings, Nov. 8 and 15, 4-8 p.m. A donation of $2 is suggested. Parking is available on College Lane during the exhibit.

The theme of this year’s show is “Homage to the Nikko.” With design elements borrowed from Nikko, the famous Buddhist temple complex in Japan, the show will feature vermilion-colored pillars, lantern displays, a torii gate and verdant moss and conifers.

On Friday, Nov. 1, Ned Friedman, an evolutionary biologist and director of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, will discuss “Darwin’s ‘Abominable Mystery’ and the Search for the First Flowering Plants.” The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Carroll Room, Campus Center, and will be followed by a reception and preview of the chrysanthemum show in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory.

A popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s, Smith’s annual chrysanthemum exhibit serves as a showcase for the hybridizing experiments of Smith students in the previous year’s horticulture class. A number of plants are grown to produce one large flower atop a single tall stem, while others are painstakingly trained to form “waterfalls of flowers” that cascade down the sides of the greenhouse. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite plants.

Also on display at Lyman Conservatory, through December 15, is “Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain,” an exploration into the science of corn, one of the most significant crops to humankind. Learn about the genetic research that helps scientists better understand the evolution of this grain and how that knowledge can improve everyday life at both a local and global level.

On Friday, Nov. 15, research geneticist Edward S. Buckler, one of the developers of the “Maize” exhibit, will discuss how recent developments in plant breeding and genetics has the potential to increase food security throughout the world. The public talk will take place at 7:30 p.m. in McConnell Hall 103.

For more information on the show, exhibitions and other events, visit www.smith.edu/gardens or call Madelaine Zadik at 413/585-2743, mzadik@smith.edu.