Even if you don't like mums

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Yes, even if you hate chrysanthemums - and I know there are a lot of you out there - you'll at least find Longwood Gardens' Chrysanthemum Festival (till Nov. 18) interesting. I did, and I'm one of you.

This is the Thousand Bloom mum - actually, more than 1,000 blooms on a single stem. If you're into that sort of thing, it's pretty impressive. This training style is considered the most difficult of all. Takes 18 months of pinching and tying and otherwise brutalizing a plant to transform it into this regimented dome of cookie-cutter uniformity. It's far from natural. It's a lot like bonsai, another ancient art that leaves me cold, but the end product can be fascinating to examine up close.

Longwood festival features 20,000 blooming chrysanthemums in the conservatory, where I was lucky enough to attend the Christian McBride jazz concert on Saturday night. Now THAT'S a reason to go - and wander among the mums, some of which did manage to wow me.

Just not the 1,000-bloom guy.

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