Zen exhibit blooms at Lauritzen Gardens

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October 10th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The Lauritzen Botanical Gardens is turning Japanese for the next few weeks.

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Thanks to a years-long partnership with the city of Shizouka, Japan, Lauritzen Gardens is celebrating Omaha’s sister city and the flowers they adore. Chrysanthemums, or mums, have their own national day in Japan, which is also known as the Festival of Happiness.

The 11th annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show is now on display at Lauritzen, and is adorned with over 30 varieties of mums and items from the residents of Shizouka and other Japanese contributors. “Mums are very meaningful in the Japanese and Chinese cultures and have great roots in both countries,” said Lauritzen Director of Marketing Mia Jenkins.

The gardens, indoor and out, are full of colorful mums. (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

“But since Omaha has a sister city relationship with Shizouka, Japan, we always do a Japanese-inspired show,” she said. “So there are a lot of elements of the Japanese culture mixed into the beautiful floral blooms of the show as well.”

Despite recent cooling temperatures, the indoor flower beds at Lauritzen are full of gorgeous mums of all colors — reds, yellows, creams and purples. Walk around and you’ll see a lantern-adorned hut, a miniature pagoda with a miniature rock and sand garden. A Japanese garden staple, called the “Deer Scare” sits at the end of a water fixture near the Koi pond.

A “Deer Scare” is a Japanese garden tool to detract deers from eating foliage. (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

The Deer Scare, a hollow bamboo reed fills with water and tumbles over to detract hungry deer from foliage. Long, draping carp streamers, called koinobori, hang from the ceiling. Not only are they beautiful, Jenkins explained they have familial significance. Traditionally, koinobori are flown on what was once called “Boys Day,” she said. That was later changed to “Children’s Day.”

“The different colors of the streamers represent different members of the family,” she said. “There’s blues and greens that represent the male children of the household and pinks and purples and other colors that represent the females of the household.”

In a couple weeks, Jenkins said a larger piece will be added to the exhibit. “We’re very excited about a ten foot tall pagoda of mums,” she said. “The mums have been trained on a form that looks like a Japanese pagoda.”

The Fall Crysanthemum Show runs through November 18th at Lauritzen Gardens in South Omaha.

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