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.

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