Monday, September 30, 2013

Mums - Winding Down in Vermont - and a History of Chrysanthemums

The “mum season” is almost finished for me.  In fact, I close for the year Oct. 1, but I still have plants around, so anyone needing something can call.

I already have most of my orders in for next year, although I have not dealt with seed orders yet.

When Danny and I started growing mums 20 + years ago, we planted the rooted cuttings in 4” pots and then transplanted them into the gardens.  In the fall we would dig them back out and pot them.  All they offered then were solid colors.  

I grow them in pots now and some of my favorites include bicolors.


"Dazzling Stacy"

Meanwhile, I wanted to share an interesting piece by Heleigh Bostwick from about the history of mums - from their origins in China in the 15th century to their arrival in America during the colonial period.

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as a flowering herb. The Chinese felt that these chrysanthemum herbs held the power of life and it is believed that the boiled roots were used as a headache remedy, young sprouts and petals were eaten in salads, and the leaves were brewed for a festive drink. Chrysanthemums made their way to Japan next where the people were similarly enamored of this beautiful flower. So much so that the Japanese have a National Chrysanthemum Day, known as the Festival of Happiness. 

During the 17th century these flowers were introduced to the Western world where the botanist Karl Linnaeus combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower, to arrive at the modern day name chrysanthemum. The colonists in turn, introduced chrysanthemums to America where to this day, it is one of the most popular fall flowers, synonymous with the cool crisp, sunny days of autumn.  

Above is a bouquet made with mums, sanguisorbia canidense ("bottle brush") and some small sunflowers.  I used scented geranium foliage as a base.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More Bouquets

These were for the Sept. 8 Farmers' Market in St. Johnsbury.  I sold every one of my mums, but I brought one of the bouquets home.  And they only cost $6 at market!  That's fine, I'm enjoying that bouquet here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fall Bouquets in Vermont

I enjoy making centerpiece bouquets for my stand at Saturday's St. Johnsbury Farmers' Market.  Typically I place a hunk of oasis in a container, drench it with water treated with plant food and an anti-bacterial agent  I then make a framework of foliage and put  in whatever flowers are on hand that seem to combine nicely.

Here are the five bouquets I made for Saturday's market.

This bouquet (Above, and close up below) features pink lavatera, purple ('Laura ') phlox, Pink Delight butterfly bush,  and even some allium.


This bouquet, above and below,  is more of a "wild" arrangement with golden rod and the white flowers of artemesia lactiflora.  The blue is a cutting ageratum, the rest are all perennials.


The above bouquet has hydrangea as a white highlight.  I find that the Pee Gee and Annabelle hydrangea blooms do not last long in bouquets, however for some reason the blooms from the grafted tree hydrangea (which is what I have used here) are long lasting.  


This bouquet (above and below) has the white flowers from cimicfugia (actaea) which are highly fragrant.  The other pink spikes are from butterfly weed.  The open pink flowers are Joe Pye weed and the darker pink/purple flowers are ironweed.


And finally a true summer bouquet with white phlox, double click cosmos, golden rod, verbena bonarienses, and rudbeckia laciniata, known around here as 'Golden Glow' or 'the outhouse plant.'