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October 15, 2008

Smith’s 2008 Mum Show to Showcase Asian Culture 'in Flower, Fabric and Flavor'

Editor’s note: For a photo of the Fall Chrysanthemum Show, e-mail Marti Hobbes.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—For the first two weeks of November, as the colors fade outdoors, floral fireworks will be erupting inside Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory during the annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show, which runs from Saturday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 16.

Reflecting the Asian origin of the versatile and popular flower, this year’s show has expanded to a “Celebration of Asian Culture in Flower, Fabric and Flavor” and will include a lecture on the cultural history of tea, Japanese basketry demonstrations, student artwork of chrysanthemums and a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The stunning chrysanthemum show, with some blooms growing nearly 8 inches in diameter, includes waterfall-like displays of flowers painstakingly trained in the traditional Japanese style to grow downward along the Conservatory wall.

The public will be able to vote for their favorite “Chrysanthemum of the Year,” and photos of the winning mums and their creators spanning the last century will be on display in the “Chrysanthemum Hall of Fame” in the Conservatory’s Church Exhibition Gallery.

Opening the show at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in Stoddard Auditorium, will be a talk titled “Camellia Sinensis and Chrysanthemum, (Cha and Bai Ju Hua); a Delight for the Eyes and the Palate” by Western Massachusetts food writers Mary Lou and Robert Heiss. The Heisses will explore the six classes of tea as described in their book “The Story of Tea, A Cultural History and Drinking Guide” and will offer a slideshow about the stunning origins of leaf tea, the intricacies of tea manufacture and representative tea wares used to enjoy the world’s most popular beverage. Tea brewing instruction and tips will be provided. A reception with tea refreshments and a preview of the chrysanthemum show will follow in the illuminated Lyman Conservatory.

The celebration continues on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. when Maki Hubbard, associate professor of East Asian languages and literature, with assistance from Sazanami, the student Japanese Cultural Organization, will perform a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony in the Conservatory’s Church Exhibition Gallery.

On Tuesday, Nov.11, at 7 p.m., internationally known textile and bamboo craftsperson Nancy Moore Bess, author of “Bamboo in Japan,” will demonstrate how to make Japanese-style bamboo baskets at the Lyman Conservatory. Samples from her collections will be on display as well.

The Chrysanthemum Show and related Asian cultural events are free and open to the public. The show, which takes place in Lyman Conservatory on College Lane, is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and parking is available on College Lane throughout its duration. The show can also be viewed online. For more information about the Fall Chrysanthemum Show or Smith’s Botanic Garden, call (413) 585-2740.

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women's colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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