In spring 2011, you may recall, I received a shipment of mums from Faribault Growers in MN. This nursery grows and sells Mums that are not only much more interesting in form and color than the annual- for decoration only- mums sold around here in the fall, they are truly perennial.
After a full season in the garden it is time to see who is performing well, who is not, who will stay, and who will go to make room for others.
The absolute keeper of the bunch is ‘Centerpiece’. That baby has been in full bloom since early July and showing not even one sign of slowing down. It did not mind heat, drought, or being moved…it has actually already been divided!….and the flowers are very cool, don’t you agree?
Another interesting flower is the aptly named ‘Matchstick’. It is just coming into bloom now, and looks great paired with the gallardia ‘Mesa Yellow’ out front.
I planted ‘Ruby Mound” in 3 locations locations in the Dog Garden ,it is also a keeper. It made it happily through the winter, has obviously survived corgi mayhem, and is now throwing out these wonderful saturated maroon color flowers.
Another that came into bloom and had been struggling to stay in bloom all summer is ‘Betty Lou’. Unfortunately it has been fighting some sort of mildew . I trimmed it back, dug out around it and gave it new soil to no avail. In the spring I will move pieces if it and see if another location does the trick.
Into the loser column go ‘Red Daisy’and ’Autumn Sun’ which completely dissapeared and ‘Doileete” which survived (barely) and is doing a whole bunch of nothing.
A little botany lesson here- in a struggle to stay relevant and keep publishing papers so they won’t lose their plum job on the university staff, botanists have been changing plant names at a record pace ( this is actually due to genetics not job security but it bugs me ). Therefore, many plants we fondly call chrysanthemum and its nostalgic nickname , mum, were reclassified as dendranthema. Ick. In a move to thwart such affronts to our lovingly named plants, not to mention our slippery grasp on the whole latin/greek plant naming game, most gardeners are refusing to call a mum anything but a mum. GO GARDENERS! BUT the saga continues as many of them are being re-re-classified as Chrysnathemum! I know you will stay glued to your seat waiting for the final outcome.
Also I will revisit the heartbreak of fall….the mum plants sold at your local nursery/ walmart/streetcorner market are not hardy here in New England . The reasons vary according to which specific plant they are offering, some are just not zone hardy, but with many the issue is the lack of time they are given to settle in before our winter. With mums spring planting is the only way to go to ensure overwintering , but since they don’t bloom in the spring no cash savvy bricks and mortar nursery will carry them as “color” sells. You mostly have to score them online or from catalogues like I did.
lesson over, back to the mums.
This season I also planted some new mums from Lazy S Farm Nursery which carries all sorts of interesting plants and is a go-to plant source for me.Chrysanthemum pacifica is a hardy mum with yellow flowers and cool silver edged foliage. It is doing very well in the garden , no blooms yet though.
I also added Chrysanthemum X rubellum “Will’s Wonderful” can you guess why? I don’t often call my Wil wonderful, but he kinda is. Will ( the mum) is related to the Sheffield Pinks I already grow that are super-hardy and bloom late October until Thanksgiving in the right year. Wil ( the guy) is awesome all year round and never gets powdery mildew on his lower leaves.
Last of the new ones is my favorite so far. It is a Bailey Nurseries introduction called ‘Mammoth Lavendar Daisy’. Even if it does not make the winter I will grateful to have had it in bloom here since early September and brightening up the entire garden in which it lives.
In addition to Sheffield Pink and a mum called ‘Copper Penny’ , Chrysanthemum Nipponicum, or Nippon Daisy or Mauntauk Daisy also have a permanent place here. This mum is more woody than most and has beautiful glossy leaves in addition to the purty daisy like flowers atop its stems in late fall. I am glad to see recently that this has become more readily available in local nurseries as it is certainly a garden worthy plant.
Why so many mums? Why not! We here in New England with our cold snowy gray long winters should enjoy our gardens for as long as we can. I think the golden rule for garden planning this area ( or any similar ones) should be to plant solely for fall. Spring , in my mind takes care of itself with all the blooming shrubs and trees that are in every-one’s yard., not to mention the iris, daffodils, etc that accompany them. Summer is also pretty easy for the average homeowner/gardener to pull off. It is in late August to November when the savvy gardener can strut their stuff and show off a garden full of color until the first snowflakes fly. Mum’s the word!