Visitors to Lauritzen Gardens for the Fall Chrysanthemum Show were wowed Sunday by the warm tones and familiar smell of the star attraction.

“I just love (chrysanthemums) because of my grandmother,” said Michelle Bryan of Topeka, Kansas. “She always had them around, and they’re nostalgic for me. These are such different colors than you get in spring and summer — the yellows, oranges and reds.”

The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China as a flowering herb and is described in writings as early as the 15th century B.C. The ancient Chinese name for chrysanthemum is chu.

The show will run daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 17 in the conservatory, said Victoria Schoell-Schafer, the garden’s director of horticulture. There are 20 different varieties of mums moving in and out of the conservatory as their blooms fade, she said.

“Even though it’s a signal of fall, I think a lot of people enjoy the colors,” Schoell-Schafer said. “They’re so lovely and I really like the smell of them. It’s a clean smell that’s not overpowering.”

Count Marie Ostry and Rosalee Burke of Omaha as fans of mums as well. Ostry wondered about some plants that had large, single blooms.

“I’ve never seen that before,” she said. “It’s different. It’s unique and I wonder how they do that.”

Schoell-Schafer said the large blooms are created through diligent care by the gardens’ staff members. They continually cut off the blooms, delaying the flower.

“So that puts all of its energy into one flower,” she said. “You can’t do that with a lot of flowers.”

Jim Taylor of Mitchell, South Dakota, stopped for a look at two of the greatest locomotives ever to power the Union Pacific Railroad. The locomotives — Centennial No. 6900 and Big Boy No. 4023 — sit at the southwest point of the Lauritzen Gardens property and are highly visible to passersby on Interstate 80.

He stayed for a walk through the gardens, including the chrysanthemum show.

“It’s really beautiful and so striking in color,” he said.

Texans Terri and Lynn Taylor, no relation to Jim, came north to Omaha from Fort Worth to visit their daughter, Alexa Taylor. It was also the perfect opportunity for them to get that fall season feeling that doesn’t occur much in the Lone Star State.

“It’s never in-between in Texas. It’s either spring or winter,” Terri Taylor said. “There’s very little fall color. It’s just so nice to see these true fall colors on display.”, 402-444-1272

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