If you’re one of those people that veer off state highways to visit the largest corn cob or ball of twine, then you just might need to steer your electric car in the direction of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania where the largest chrysanthemum ever to grace North American soil is currently on display. The plant — called the Thousand Bloom — is part of the Longwood Gardens annual Chrysanthemum Festival. It has 991 blooms, measures 11 feet across and was grown by a master horticulturalist and a metal worker over an 18 month period using a Japanese chrysanthemum-growing technique known as Ozukuri.
“A Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum is one of the biggest wonders in the world of flowers,” said Longwood Gardens director Paul Redman. “Each year the challenge to grow one of the world’s largest mums is one of the most intensive horticultural efforts we engage in here at Longwood.” The growers first had to create a metal structure for the plant to be trained around and then meticulously watered, pinched and tied to the frame in order to create as many uniform blooms as possible. Quite a beautiful botanical effort by Longwood’s team of experts.
Nine short of a thousand this venture seems to have been quite successful. There aren’t many people in the world skilled enough to grow one of these masterful plants but it just so happens that Longwood’s own Yoko Arakawa — who leads their team of growers — has trained with master chrysanthemum experts in Japan and keeps up on her knowledge of the art form by traveling frequently to the country. The Chrysanthemum festival at Longwood Gardens runs through the 21st of November at their indoor conservatory and features 20,000 blooming chrysanthemums.