National Flower Show Coming to Durham November 6-7, 2021

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA: You’ve heard of the Philadelphia Flower Show, maybe the Chelsea Flower Show in Great Britain? Now get ready for Durham’s Own National Flower Show coming to town November 6-7, 2021. The National Chrysanthemum Society will hold their annual convention and flower show, A Festival of Fabulous Mums, right here in Durham at the Millennium Hotel, 2800 Campus Walk Ave. Spectacular blooms of all different shapes, colors and sizes will be on display as the best chrysanthemum growers in the United States compete for top awards and national recognition.


The best chrysanthemum growers in the United States will compete for top honors at the National Chrysanthemum Society’s Annual Flower Show in Durham November 6-7, 2021. Photo: Irene Murt.

Chrysanthemums of all shapes, colors, and sizes awaiting inspections before preparation for the show floor.

Photo: Irene Murt

These are not your typical garden variety mums – these are Exhibition mums that have been meticulously cared for and groomed to amplify their unique and breath-taking beauty. These blooms will be large – a minimum of 4” is required but many will be 10” or more in diameter. Some will look like fireworks (Spider mums) while others will look like an artist’s paint brush (Brush and Thistle mums), and still others will have large central disks surrounded by daisy like “petals” (Anemone mums).  In all, 13 different classes of chrysanthemums will be on display.


Class 11 Spider Mums look like exploding fireworks. Photo by Irene Murt


Brush and Thistle Chrysanthemum “Pink Whisper” with petals resembling a paint brush.

Photo: Irene Murt


Design by Vandy Bradow. Photo: Penny Amato


award-winning cascading chrysanthemum “Kurume” grown by Rita Rover.

Photo: Todd Brethauer.

Anemone chrysanthemums like “Purple Light” feature large central disks surrounded by daisy like petals

 Photo: Irene Murt

The Show is being hosted by the local NCS chapter, the Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society, and the Raleigh Garden Club who will oversee the floral design portion of the Show.  In addition to the hundreds of cut show mums, there will be floral arrangements, all featuring chrysanthemums, in 7 different categories, as well as botanical arts in 3 different categories including arrangements in a high heel shoe!  Speakers will share information on growing mums in addition to other garden related topics like flower arranging with a live demo by a former White House floral designer. Children’s activities will include coloring, games and a scavenger hunt.  Visitors will be able to purchase rare mum plants, beautiful blooms, mum related items and raffle tickets for special prizes.  Sarah P. Duke Gardens are just one mile away and you will be able to see potted chrysanthemums featured in the landscape in the William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. The National Chrysanthemum Society Show is free, family friendly and open to the public for exhibitors and attendees.

The Raleigh Garden Club will co-host the Flower Show, coordinating the Floral Design and Botanical Arts Divisions. Floral Designs featuring chrysanthemums will be on display at the 2021 Festival of Fabulous Mums. Though widely popular in other parts of the world especially in Japan, exhibition-style chrysanthemums are, unfortunately, now extremely rare in the United States even though they are relatively easy to grow. Joan Matthews, the president of the Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society, points out that these large, exhibition mums were once common in America’s home gardens. “There are many who have never seen these types of mums, or only remember them vaguely being grown by a now-gone relative”, Matthews says.  “Bringing them back from near extinction is one of our main goals”.


For more information or to schedule an interview with Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society President Joan Matthews, contact her at See her in a feature news clip by WRAL TV’s Tarheel Traveler, Scott Mason at


“Gnome” chrysanthemums can be grown into bonsai forms.Grown by Jim Easterbrook.

 Photo: Penny Amato


Small Chrysanthemums tree.

 Photo: Irene Murt


Fukusuke (Dwarf )Chrysanthemum 

“King’s Joy” grown by Jeff MacDonald. Photo: Eileen Halcrow

The Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society is a Tax Exempt Non-Profit whose objectives are to educate amateur and commercial growers in gardening techniques that increase chrysanthemums' propagation and cultivation and encourage the display of chrysanthemums​in home and public gardens. Press release including photographs available at the Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society’s website


Joan Matthews grows Exhibition-style chrysanthemums in her garden in Raleigh, NC. Photo: Craig Matthews

Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society, president  and the coordinator of the forthcoming annual National Chrysanthemum Society 2021 Floral Show in Durham November 7 & 8

Joan  Matthews


Retired elementary school teacher Joan Matthews is on a mission to “Save the Chrysanthemum.” After realizing that many cultivars of exhibition-style mums, which were once very popular in American culture, were disappearing from home gardens, she knew she had to act, first by reviving the Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society (CCCS), which had disbanded some years back, and then by convincing Sarah P. Duke Gardens to grow and feature large, vintage chrysanthemums in their fall displays and programs. As president of CCCS, Joan was instrumental in creating the Festival of Fabulous Mums, an annual event featuring an indoor flower show with glorious blooms of every size, shape, and color of this fantastic botanical beauty. The event is co-hosted by the CCCS and Sarah P. Duke Gardens.


Joan fell under the spell of magical mums several years ago and loves to spread the word about these scarce flowers. They are on the verge of extinction in the United States, with only ONE supplier left in the country.


In her quest to revitalize chrysanthemums, Joan has become a popular guest lecturer throughout the Triangle and the state of North Carolina. She is presently guiding the CCCS to plan for the National Chrysanthemum Society’s Convention and Flower Show hosted at the Millennium Hotel in Durham this November.


Joan, her two daughters, and five grandchildren all enjoy growing mums together. Her garden has been featured in several local and national publications, including The News and Observer, Walter Magazine, and Country Garden. You can meet Joan and view her mums at the following WRALTarheel Traveler here:    


Permission granted for reprint and redistribution. Photograph Credits Required.
Additional photograph requests to