Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.
What’s in Bloom at Lasdon
Montauk Daisy Leucanthemum nipponicum
In the Spotlight
Chrysanthemums have a long and interesting history. Written references to chrysanthemums can be found in Chinese literature dating back to the 15th century BCE. The Chinese first cultivated chrysanthemums as a culinary herb, using the flower petals in salads and steeped in hot water for use as a tea. As an herb, chrysanthemums were considered to have the power of life.
The enthusiasm for chrysanthemums spread to Japan around the 8th century CE. A single flowered chrysanthemum came to form the crest and official seal of the Emperor. Japan still celebrates a National Chrysanthemum Day called the Festival of Happiness.
Chrysanthemums were introduced to the United States during the colonial era between the 17th and 18th centuries. Today chrysanthemums have become one of America’s most commonly cultivated flowers. Chrysanthemums are used extensively in the floral industry as they make very long- lasting cut flowers. Chrysanthemums are especially valued, though, for the beautiful array of autumnal colors they offer for fall gardens and containers.
Chrysanthemums have been planted in the Lasdon Memorial Garden and will be putting on a beautiful fall display. To arrange your own colorful display visit the Shop at Lasdon for orange, yellow and red chrysanthemums. For more detailed information on chrysanthemums, visit the National Chrysanthemum Society, USA website at www.mums.org.