The 70th Chrysanthemum Ball is taking place at the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, founded in 1812. The jubilee exhibition is titled 'Autumn Sun,' featuring approximately 40,000 plants of 450 varieties and hybrid forms. The majority of them, 263 varieties and hybrid forms, are chrysanthemums from the Nikitsky Botanical Garden's breeding program.
Since 2007, there has been a tradition of selecting the 'queen' of the chrysanthemum ball, and since 2013, a 'princess' is also chosen. Since 2020, it's possible to participate in the elections online – on the botanical garden's website and its social media pages. There is also a designated voting area on the main flowerbed.
According to the rules, a title is awarded to a variety only once in its lifetime. Therefore, a special flowerbed has been created for the previous seasons' queens and princesses – a kind of royal lounge.
Chrysanthemums are categorized as early, mid, and late-blooming varieties, extending the parade for almost two months. Currently, the peak is underway, with the early ones fading, the mid-blooming at full strength, and the latest varieties just beginning to bloom.
The fragrance of the Chrysanthemum Ball is a topic of its own. The entire Nikitsky Garden is enveloped in a delicate cloud featuring scents of the sea, pine, juniper, chrysanthemums, and hundreds of other plants that grow, bloom, and fragrance the area!
In the East, chrysanthemums were so highly esteemed that they became the emblem of emperors. In Japan, only the ruler could wear the image of this flower on clothing (violation of the taboo was punishable by death). Therefore, historically, the chrysanthemum symbolizes power, dignity, and wealth. It also represents resilience, as chrysanthemums can bloom even under snow. Some chrysanthemum varieties are also consumed as food, used in salads, pie fillings, soups, and cold appetizers, placed in Chinese teapots, and utilized as a seasoning. Various dishes are adorned with boiled or raw chrysanthemum buds.
The Chrysanthemum Ball at the Nikitsky Botanical Garden will continue until the first frost, providing several more weeks of enjoying the beauty of chrysanthemums.