90 Years Ago in the Diamondback: Blooming Chrysanthemums and Japanese Gardens at the Fall Flower Show

90 years ago today, readers of The Diamondback were treated to a “feature of the week” on the University’s first-ever Autumn Flower Show (sadly, sans pictures of the exhibit, and photographs in the paper were quite rare at the time). In previous years, the flower show had been held together with the fruit show, but in 1922 “it was felt that floriculture was assuming such a place among the agricultural sciences” that it deserved its own public exhibition.

The 3-day show was hosted by the Horticulture department students and held in the “romantic, ivy-covered, Horticultural building.” Exhibitors included leading florists and growers from Washington, Baltimore, and surrounding districts, and approximately 2500 visitors attended the show.

Thomas White with mums, Maryland Agricultural College, November 17, 1905
Flowering chrysanthemums in the Maryland Agricultural College greenhouse from 1905, even earlier in the school’s horticultural history.

To give the show a Japanese feel, the front room was converted into a true “Japanese flower garden,” complete with running stream, gold fish, and trees, ferns and umbrella plants. According to The Diamondback, Japan was the “land of the flowers,” and its inhabitants “seem[ed] to be deeper in their appreciation of beauty than we are.” Flowers on display included chrysanthemums (first brought to Japan from China around the 8th century A.D), roses, and carnations. The paper lauded the show as a whole, saying the flowers, building, ivy, and Japanese atmosphere created a “most colorful illustration of the most romantic of the branches of agriculture” and thanking and congratulating the students and organizers who were responsible for the show’s success.

(Additional information in this post from the Wikipedia article on “Chrysanthemum.”)


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