Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum

It's a joke among my friends that I don't do outer boroughs, but if there ever a time to make an exception, it would be for the New York Botanical Garden. Running through November 18th, is Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum, the exhibition touted as the most elaborate flower show and cultural celebration ever presented by the New York Botanical Garden in it's 116-year history. Kiku is the art of meticulously cultivated chrysanthemums, a traditional Japanese art never before seen on this scale outside Japan and culminates a five year collaboration with Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. I'm sure you'll agree that the styles of Kiku below are nothing short of amazing.

Kengai or "Cascade" are small flowered chrysanthemums trained in boat shaped frameworks that cascade downward like waterfalls for lengths of six and a half feet away from the potted root ball and require a 11 months to train.

Ozukuri which means "Thousand Bloom" is a single chrysanthemum trained to produce hundreds of simultaneous blossoms in a massive, dome shaped array. It requires a minimum of 11 - 12 months to train and are planted in custom built wooden containers called sekidai.

Ogiku means "single stem" and features single stems that can reach six feet tall with one perfect bloom balanced on top. They are precisely arranged in diagonal lines that decrease in height from the back of the bed to the front. They are presented in color arrangements that resemble traditional Japanese horse bridle reins called tazuna-ue.

Kiku was also the inspiration for New York jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski, a passionate gardener and Asian art collector. He has designed his Kiku Fine Jewelry Collection to benefit The New York Botanical Garden. Fifteen percent of all sales will be donated to the garden...that is if you can afford them.
The Kiku Brooch is 18k yellow and rose gold with white and champagne diamonds and sells for $32,000. If that is too steep for you, perhaps the Kiku earrings would be a better option. The 18k gold pair are $5,900 while the 18k rose gold pair with white and champagne diamonds is $9,900.

If nothing else, perhaps the art of Kiku will cause you look at mums in a whole different light and appreciate the art of possibility.


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