For most, the arrival of autumn means the end of flowers. However, for Lauritzen Gardens, the beginning of October means the beginning of one of their most magnificent floral displays: The Fall Chrysanthemum Show.
Chrysanthemums of all varieties and colors, some still growing and some already in full bloom, line walkways and decorate pagodas and ponds on the garden’s first floor and surrounding grounds.
The Fall Chrysanthemum Show is an annual tradition at Lauritzen Gardens. The show was meant to display both the culmination of months of careful cultivation and to celebrate Omaha’s relationship with her sister city, Shizuoka in Japan.
To honor that relationship, the Chrysanthemum show began with a weekend long festival put on by the Omaha Sister Cities Association, which allowed visitors to take part in a multitude of events celebrating Japanese culture.
Some of these activities included calligraphy, a tea ceremony, origami, music, martial arts performances and Japanese clothing like yukata available to try on.
Most importantly, however, the floral displays and the architecture of the Chrysanthemum Show are modeled after traditional Japanese gardens.
The garden is dotted with stone lanterns and koi swim lazy circles in a flower-ringed indoor pond. Kabuki gates hang over pathways. Lanterns and flags flutter from the ceiling and there is even a small “Mount Fuji” on the outdoor grounds which visitors may climb.
One rather special element is a small replica of the gate of Sunpu Castle, an important historical castle in Shizuoka.
The centerpiece, however, is a large, multileveled stone pagoda, completely covered in chrysanthemum buds that are just now beginning to bloom.
Each of the levels is planted with a different color of flower and when all of the plants are in full bloom, it will create a spectacle that showcases both the friendship Omaha has with Shizuoka and the hard work and dedication that Lauritzen Gardens puts into this annual event.
Many of these elements first became a part of the Lauritzen Gardens’ Japanese Garden in 2005; however, there is still much growing that they hope to do.
Lauritzen has set its sights on building a ceremonial tea house, a one-acre pond featuring small rivers and waterfalls and a sand garden, all elements which they hope to incorporate into their future Fall Chrysanthemum Shows and tours.
The $10 admission cost ($5 for children) for this year’s show goes towards funding these future developments.
The Chrysanthemum Show will be on display in the main building of Lauritzen Gardens until Nov. 16, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.