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October 12, 2010

Smith College to Host Annual Chrysanthemum Show

mum showNORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Each fall as colors fade outside, a riot of color erupts indoors at Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory during the college’s annual chrysanthemum show. While not as widely known as the spring bulb show, this autumnal display is even more spectacular, with vibrant oversized blooms reaching 8 inches across.

A popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s, the annual chrysanthemum show has served as a showcase for the hybridizing experiments of Smith students in the previous year’s horticulture class.

A large number of plants are grown with a single stem to produce one large flower atop a very tall stem. Other chrysanthemums are painstakingly trained in the Japanese style to form “waterfalls of flowers” that cascade down the sides of the greenhouse. Training them is so labor intensive that it is a rarity to see them in gardens in this country. Yet, come fall at Smith, they flaunt their blooms with delightful appeal.

To kick off this year’s show and to open the Botanic Garden’s newest art exhibit, “Art to Landscape, Landscape to Art,” landscape architect W. Gary Smith will hold a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, in the Carroll Room, Campus Center.

During his lecture, titled “From Art to Landscape: Unleashing Creativity in Garden Design,” Smith will discuss landscape design from an artistic perspective as a means to create personal connections with the landscape that in turn enrich and inform garden design. A reception, book-signing and an illuminated preview of the chrysanthemum show will follow in Lyman Conservatory.

The exhibition in the Conservatory’s Church Gallery will feature artwork by W. Gary Smith. In vibrant color, his dazzling paintings show the connections between art and landscape. Refreshments and light snacks will be served.

Additional events during the two weeks of the chrysanthemum show include a harp recital by Sue Gerstle on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. and a chrysanthemum-themed poetry reading by Chinese literature students on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m., with chrysanthemum tea being served. On the final Friday night of the show, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyman Conservatory, Michael Marcotrigiano, director of the Botanic Garden, will present a lecture on “Plants as Design Elements.” All events are free and open to the public.

The chrysanthemum show at Lyman Conservatory on College Lane is open to the public, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Saturday, Nov. 6, through Sunday, Nov. 21. Lyman Conservatory is open to the public free of charge, although donations are appreciated, and is wheelchair accessible. Parking is available on College Lane for the two weeks of the chrysanthemum show. For more information, call the Botanic Garden at (413) 585-2740 or visit the Web site.

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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