See amazing mums at Botanical Gardens’ new exhibit

lava chrysanthemum in Buffaloby Connie Oswald Stofko

Some spectacular blooms are on display at the 105th annual Chrysanthemum Show at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.

Pictured at left is lava, a spider mum in fiery tones.

“All of these are indoor mums,” explained Doug O’Reilly, horticulturist at the Botanical Gardens. “They wouldn’t last outside.”

You could grow specimens like these only  if you have enough light. You probably need a greenhouse, he said.Fort Smith mums in Buffalo

Many of the mums are trained to grow  into certain shapes. Some are “cascades,” which, with a little extra help from wire netting, flow over the side of a pot. Others are “bowls” and grow with a domed shape.

Still others are  “standard” mums, which means they have been trained to grow tree-like with a single flower atop a very tall stem. They can grow to eight or nine feet. At right, the tall yellow standards are Fort Smith mums. Art White spoon standard mum in Buffalo

To create standard mums, O’Reilly starts in April with bush mums, and keeps pruning off the extra buds. A stake gives the stem support, which you can see at left with this Art White spoon mum.

By pruning away all of the competing blossoms, the plant’s energy is directed to the single blossom, and that produces a much larger flower, he said.

While the overall display of the mums is lovely, make sure you take a shamrock mum in Buffalomoment to enjoy the details of the flowers. Shamrock, seen at right, is one of many examples of mums that have petals with spoon tips– they’re shaped like scoops. Examine the flower closely and you’ll see how it gets its name: it is tinged with green.

Most mums start out flat, O’Reilly noted, and some, like the blush pink Zinfandel in the photo below left, get round as they get bigger. The darker flower, called Purple Light, is daisy-like in its shape.

zinfandel and purple light mumsWhen you go to the show, look for the Turner mums. They’re almost as big as a football and are oblong in shape. When we got our preview of the show last week, they weren’t yet in bloom.

I’m sure you’ll find your own favorite, but I am partial to Icicle, shown at right, which is as delicate and airy as a snowflake.icicle mum in Buffalo

The show continues through Nov. 14. Tickets are $8 for adults; $7 for seniors and students with ID, and $4 for children ages 3 to 12.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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