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Grow better mums: Lan Su Chinese Garden chrysanthemum displays, classes, competition (photos)

Brighten up November days by strolling among thousands of blooming¬†chrysanthemums at downtown Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden and vote, this weekend only, for your favorite flower arrangement created by the Pacific Northwest floral industry’s top designers.

The annual Ninth Moon Floral Design Showcase organized by the Chinese garden and Portland’s Floral Design Institute is Friday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 5.

One of the prizes in the competition will be a People’s Choice Award based on visitors’ preference for classic Chinese techniques, Western approaches or a mix.

Throughout the month, chrysanthemums, in all shapes, sizes and colors, will be displayed in the garden’s pavilions and along white stone walls as part of the annual Mumvember celebration.

Against the garden’s autumn backdrop of oranges, reds and yellows will be pops of bright pink, lime green and other vivid blooms from more than 750 potted plants. You’ll see quills, spoons, semi-doubles, anemones and exotic mums.

The month-long celebration includes talks about caring for the flower revered around the world for its late and long-lasting blooms. There will also be floral demonstrations as well as classes on feng shui, Yang-style tai chi and calligraphy.

Over the year, Lan Su Chinese Garden, at 239 NW Everett St., hosts more than 500 events included with admission or membership at no additional cost.

Admission is $10 for adults ($9 for seniors 62 and over, $7 for students and $28 for a family with two adults and two students. Children five and under are free). Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily Nov. 1-March 14 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day).

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, you can meet the floral designers, see the Ninth Moon Floral Design Showcase displays and enjoy dessert, sparkling wine and music ($75) as part of the preview gala.

British Columbia floral designer Brenna Quan, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and who created an elaborate fan-shaped arrangement at the 2015 showcase, will demonstrate how to create a unique arrangement at the preview as well as from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5.

Mums are culturally significant flowers, says Leanne Kesler, who, with her husband David Kesler, has owned the Floral Design Institute vocational school since 1988.

The Chinese associate mums with old age and wisdom, Leanne Kesler adds. It is one of the Four Gentleman of Flowers, sharing the honor with the flowering plum, bamboo and orchid.

In Japan, the mum represents long life and happiness, she says, while Hindus closely associate the chrysanthemum with mourning and funerals.

In the Netherlands, the red chrysanthemum denotes love, white stands for truthfulness and yellow represents slighted love.

For home gardeners, here are tips for growing chrysanthemums from Leanne Kesler and the Floral Design Institute:

  • While commercial flower food is best, in a pinch you can add a drop or two of bleach to the water. This will prevent bacteria build up and make them last much longer.
  • If you want tight buds to open more rapidly, place the blooms next to a bowl of bananas. The ethylene will speed the maturation of the flower. Likewise, to increase their life, keep them away from the fruit bowl.
  • To keep the bloom perky and prevent petal drop, put hairspray on the back side.
  • The interior of the base stem of the chrysanthemum is soft and sometimes even hollow. You can use this as an extender for short, broken blossoms. Just give the bloom a fresh cut and stick it directly into the stem. Extended blooms can last just as long as the natural stem.
  • For a full, round bouquet, place the lower perimeter blossoms first and then work up to the center point. This will keep the design symmetrical and balanced

— Janet Eastman

jeastman@oregonian.com
503-799-8739
@janeteastman

Article source: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2017/10/mum_competition_lan_su_pdx_9th.html