You know it’s fall when you see Chrysanthemums at the garden store! My love affair with mums goes back almost as far as the one I have with my husband! At our first house, in Buffalo, New York, we rejuvenated our front garden bed by cutting down overgrown spirea and boarding the bed with yellow mums. We did not have a lot of money back then, so the mums I bought were small but hardy, and all a bright yellow, my favorite color. The best part of this first batch of mums was that they grew, and grew, and grew so that by late fall, we had an almost continuous yellow row in front of our house. Since they were hardy, most of them came back the following year, too. We must have had a mild winter in Buffalo that year. But, for nearly every year since I start looking for mums by the end of August.
The great thing about mums is the variety of colors. You can pick pastels or brighter jewel tones, which are the variety I tend to cherish. By this time of year, things are drying down and looking a little drab and brown (although that is not the case this year). I like to go and pick some brightly colored mums to supplement the colors already in my garden.
Right now, the Russian Sage is in full bloom, as our coneflowers in white, pink, and burgundy, Black-eyed Susans scream to be noticed the minute I set foot on the driveway. They are far out in the front yard in a large, kidney-shaped perennial bed, but I cannot help but glance their way to check out their beauty, just like a boy with a secret crush on an unsuspecting girl. The brightness of their yellow petals offset by the deep brown center really stands out, demanding the attention of anyone who passes by.
The Liatris plants are brown and dry, no longer vibrant purple rods of flowers. The chokecherry is busting with fruit, which the birds have started to notice. Hostas are becoming withered and spent.
It is time for some new colors. It is time for Chrysanthemums! So, today, I made my annual trek to the garden store before 9 a.m. There is a sale, which forces me to spend more than I normally would on my beloved fall plant. Eight-inch pots with healthy plants busting with buds in yellow, cream, lavender, purple, burgundy, rust, and pink all beckon my gaze. But, I settle on yellow – my bright, cheery, color of sunny days and happy smiles, of lemons and roses, and tall cool drinks. Yellow – I’ll take three of those.
I imagine the driveway border bed and what color would look nice there – there in that empty spot near the front – just enough room for three more mums, this time in a lavender-pink, just waiting to bloom. It’ll bring the eye down from the deep fuschia coneflowers and monarda almost spent. Yes, I’ll take three of those.
Although I like jewel tones better than pastels, there is a pinky-orange bloom that draws some new attention from me. Still, I’m not sure. I’ll only get one for today of this color. I envision this in a pot with some rust-colored mums that are a taller variety. Yes, I’ll be back for more of those, as I find out later that three was not enough.
I smiled as I worked this morning, letting myself enjoy putting my chrysanthemums in the ground! It brought me back to my previous homes, the yellow mums in my Buffalo garden, more yellow mums in our first Wisconsin house with a happy toddler running past, and now in my driveway garden bed – far enough away from the Black-eyed Susans so they won’t be jealous of this other yellow flower that has caught my eye!