Six Thousand Chrysanthemums

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A thousand chrysanthemums set into a half-globe topiary at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania at its annual chrysanthemum festival.

A white flower set among the yellows here and there to refresh the eye.

 

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Five thousand specialty chrysanthemums are planted throughout the Conservatory and trained for up to a year on topiaries of many shapes in the warm, humid galleries of world class collections of orchids, citrus fruits, cacti, begonia, palms, dogbane, gardenia, and varieties of tropical and temperate area plants too many to name. 

And hibiscus.

 

 

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Longwood, one of five parks and gardens and museums created by members of the du Pont family, is a park in which there are several pleasure gardens and a large conservatory.

It’s science and conservation programs have achieved the highest level of accreditation available in the US ;  and the whole a gift of Pierre S. du Pont, 1870-1954.  He built the conservatory in 1921 and an annual display of chrysanthemums dates from then.

Many adults wheeling elders who had wheeled them around in prams here in this same place in autumns a generation ago.

Sweet, sweet fragrances in the conservatory.  Not everywhere and not heady, but here and there, floating upwards;  and in some places smart enough to make you stop and inhale deeply, straightening your back

 

 

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A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (dahlias, asters, gaillardias);  1865, oil on canvas.  Edgar Degas,  1834-1917.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

  This painting, the subject of several poems,  is also commonly called A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Chrysanthemums. 

Such a contrast between the flowers, so fulsomely arranged, and the woman’s pose, paying them no mind, watching the shenanigans of passers-by.

In fact, the woman is thought to have been a friend of the artist at whose country house the artist had enjoyed flowers and especially the company.  And this painting is a homage.

 

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Bouquet or Chrysanthemums, 1881, oil on canvas.  Auguste Renoir, 141-1919, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

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Chrysanthemums in the Gardens at Petit-Gennevilliers, 1893.  Gustave Caillebotte, 1848-1894, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

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Chrysanthemums, 1882, oil on canvas.  Claude Monet, 1840-1926, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

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