Hamilton Mum Show Opens Later This Month; Plus Other Fall Garden Displays
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

October 11, 2015

Above, TH&B (Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo) railway engine; a view from another direction of the TH&B engine; a TH&B caboose; and a CN rail diesel all done in Chrysanthemums. Below, a close-up of a white spoon-type mum, and a general shot of one of the mum settings that included a rail-side water area. All foregoing shots courtesy City of Hamilton/annual Mum Show. Another white spoon mum growing in a pot the way they are grown prior to being staged for the show; and three cascade mums which are grown all season growing upwards on wire, but when they are staged they are ‘flipped’ and are allowed to hang down as shown here. Last two photos by the author taken in Tokyo, Japan at their annual outdoor mum shows in public parks.



Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China more than two thousand years ago and are mentioned in several of the writings of Confucius. Exactly when the flower was introduced to Canada is not known, but Dutch merchants are recorded as cultivating it in 1688. The world-renowned botanist Linneus, in 1753, named it "Chrysanthemum" from the Greek words "Chryos" meaning gold and "anthemon" meaning flower or bush.

It is the national flower of Japan, and I can certainly suggest to you that if you ever have the opportunity to visit Japan during the months of October or early November, as I have, do be sure to take a half day to visit some of the outdoor Chrysanthemum exhibits. It is in these out-door park shows, under only a light protective burlap covering, you'll see mum plants especially trained with 500 and more individual blooms on a single plant!

While you'll not see that many blooms on the plants at the Hamilton Mum Show, you will nevertheless see thousands of blooms of virtually every type and colour, from October 23 until November 1. Admission is $6.50 for adults ($5.50 for seniors and students) and children under age 5 are free. On Saturday October 31, there will be a special family price of $20.

Chrysanthemums traditionally take stage in the autumn as the sumptuous palette of the season revolves around orange, brown, green, yellow and red, with a hint of pink and purple. People want to snuggle up indoors as daylight fades and Chrysanthemums are just perfect for those warm cozy moments. Chrysanthemums bring swaths of colour to the end of summer.

The Mum Show, as most people refer to the show, started in 1920 and has seen many changes over the years. A new theme each year has taken us through dramatic scenes of flowers, colours and displays.

The displays are a combination of cascading varieties in baskets, pillars and pyramids. Equally impressive are the single stem Exhibition types, some with individual bloom diameters of over 17 centimetres (eight inches) across. Combined with the bush varieties, the greenhouse is full of the colours of fall.

The Chrysanthemum Show is an amazing floral display created by some of Hamilton’s finest horticulture staff. The display is a breathtaking feature of over 200 varieties of Chrysanthemums, and more than 75,000 blooms.

In 2011 the Hamilton Fall Garden & Mum Show took place in Hamilton’s newly built green-house facility. Over 1,800 square metres (20,000 square feet) of display space houses the show. The new greenhouse facility allowed for the creation of a new design and layout. A new children’s area, live demonstration area and an expanded vendor area was created. In addition to the many new features, the greenhouse facility allows for an expanded display area with larger aisles and multiple areas to rest and enjoy the beauty of the many displays.

The Hamilton Fall Garden & Mum Show features vendors selling hand-crafted jewelry and crafts, unique plants, garden tools, and so much more.

The show offers an extraordinary opportunity to reach more than 15,000 visitors annually and support greening efforts in the City of Hamilton. As the largest Chrysanthemum Show in Ontario, the Hamilton Fall Garden & Mum Show sets the standard for gardening events across the Hamilton, Burlington & Niagara communities.

At about the same time, nearby Toronto has two mum shows held in the city’s conservatories. The oldest such conservatory is the Allan Gardens Conservatory located in the downtown east end at Sherbourne and Carlton streets. That show runs from October 11 to November 8 this year. The other show is in the City’s far west end at 151 Elmcrest Road, right in the city’s Centennial Park. Dates for this show are November 1 to 29. On November 1 that conservatory will also feature a special Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) and Bonsai demonstration between 2 and 4 pm.

Admission for all the Toronto shows is free, and the conservatories are open as usual from 10 am to 5 pm.

There are excellent displays of fall flowers, such as Mums, at various sites elsewhere in British Columbia too. The famous Butchart Gardens near Victoria has an excellent fall display out-doors that not only includes Mums, but also Dahlias, Cyclamen, Euonymus, Asters, as well as a number of trees including Japanese maples, Sweet gum, Heptacodium (see last week’s article here) and Ginkgo.


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