It sounded like rain…..

There were a few raindrops on the roof last night, I’m sure of it.  In fact there was light rain lingering in the morning, enough so that I put off going next door to help dig holes for a fence moving project (I really didn’t need much of an excuse to put that off….).  By the time late-afternoon rolled around and bowling and hole digging was done for the day, the garden looked as dry as ever.  The only plants still looking somewhat fresh are the chrysanthemums.

mum 'pink cadillac' chrysanthemum

On an 85F degree day a few weeks ago I dug up and threw this plant into a pot by the front door. It barely wilted, the buds are opening, and I’m quite pleased with the show.  This is chrysanthemum ‘pink cadillac’.

I might have to spread the good cheer of chrysanthemums around the garden a little more next spring.  It’s hard to think fall flowers in May but they really do stand up to a lot of abuse, and by abuse I mean bone dry soil and little attention from me for pretty much the entire growing season.

mum 'vicki' chrysanthemum

I’ve had this one for a few years and oddly enough last week found its original nursery tag mixed in with a batch of compost. Of all the mums I’ve killed it must have been destiny to recover the ID of chrysanthemum ‘vicki’.

Potted mums are always a nice autumn treat, but my success in overwintering them has been hit or miss.  This spring I dabbled in the world of hardier chrysanthemums by ordering a few rooted cuttings from Faribault Growers in Minnesota.  They offer “Mums from Minnesota” which are mums developed and grown locally for the harsher winters of the upper Midwest.  I’m afraid I might have to order a few more this spring, I really like how they worked out… even though I don’t think I have room for any more!

mum 'carousel' chrysanthemum

A late, taller mum, “Carousel” should make a nice cut flower. To bad the leaves are starting to yellow from lack of water….

This spring I opted for mostly ‘novelty’ types with quilled and spooned petals.  I like them well enough but I think what I really want are a few fat, football types.  I’m not saying I’ll fertilize, stake and disbud to get the largest of show blooms, but I did try out a single football type this summer and loved it most of all (please don’t tell the others).  I think I need more 😉

mum 'dolliette' chrysanthemum

An interesting bloom, ‘dolliette’ is a little clumpy for me, I like looser sprays of flowers and these seem a little crowded.

Hopefully no one has been offended by my use of the name ‘chrysanthemum’ for these flowers.  The new genus name is ‘dendranthema’ of course and I’m not thrilled with learning a new trick.  Will they also no longer be mums?  I guess we can call them mas, but that doesn’t seem as catchy even though it does still gives mom her due.

lettuce transplants

Lettuce transplants in the garden. My half-hearted attempt at a fall garden.

The only other thing I’ve been enjoying in the garden lately is the one lonely patch of garden which has been receiving regular water.  I planted it up with lettuce transplants found at my favorite local nursery and according to my calculations I’ll need to pick approximately 8 salads from this patch in order to make it a worthwhile investment.

But like they say: price of transplants- $5, having a tiny fall garden patch- priceless….. unless you still add in the time, compost, watering 🙂


19 comments on “It sounded like rain…..

  1. Cathy says:

    “Vicki” looks fantastic! I tried growing Mums in the garden once but it turned out the slugs adore them, so I often just have one in a pot in the autumn. Why they keep changing names I don’t know… an obsession for correctness perhaps, but confusing for the average gardener. My Persicaria has also been renamed Polygonum…

    • bittster says:

      Yeah I really don’t understand the name game. It seems like some economic considerations might be nice since some day all those mum growers will likely have to change their labels, websites, reference books….
      We’ve been sort of lucky with slugs. The only time they multiply is in a wet spring when the lettuce is particularly promising. Then they come.

  2. Chloris says:

    Your ‘ mums’ bring so much colour to the autumn garden . They are lovely. ‘ Vickie’ is gorgeous. The name Dendranthema is anathema to me. I won’ t have it.
    You are organised with your winter salads.

    • bittster says:

      I’m not sold on the new name either, it’s almost as bad as that new aster name which never sticks in my head (fortunately).
      I’m glad you like orange mum, it’s not the most subtle color or classiest plant, but it does say autumn to me.

  3. I’m partial to pink, so I like the Pink Cadillac. My mums have died out over the years. Hopefully I will remember to plant some next spring.

    • bittster says:

      They handle dry spells well enough, but some of them do tend to die out without a division now and then. But they’re easy enough to find when your in the mood to add them again!

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Chrysanthemum ‘vicki’ looks like a star. In fact all of these are quite nice. Thanks for keeping us up to date with the name change to dendranthema. We’ve had a bit of rain and are due for several more days of it. Hope you get some soon too.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Susie. I’m not the most helpful with the newest names, I’m avoiding the new sedum and aster names and I’m sure chrysanthemum will stay in my vocab for a while.
      Maybe a dry fall will make cleanup easier…. I can hope for that at least 🙂

  5. Christina says:

    Vicky is so good planted near your Acer, perfect, I’d say. I did have one in the garden for a while but it didn’t do well, too dry for it in summer and too cold in winter. Carousel also looks a great colour; I’m not so keen on them as a cut flower because of their distinctive smell.

    • bittster says:

      I think my (quite expensive) Japanese maple out front has finally given up the ghost this summer, so they’re not foolproof here either. That’s actually a sumac with the mums. I think of it as a poor man’s Japanese maple, and it’s much more forgiving… as long as you forgive it the occasional spreading sucker.
      I had a few of the mums indoors a few weeks ago and didn’t mind the scent, but others were not as impressed 🙂

  6. Ma’s? Very funny, Frank. I hate change of any sort, and plant genus name changes most of all. Thanks for the information about the Minnesota company. I’d like to try them as I have little luck overwintering my potted, so-called ‘hardy’ mums. P. x

    • bittster says:

      I’ll let you know how mine fare through the winter. I can’t imagine our winters could be worse than the upper Midwest! The only problem is motivating yourself to look at mum cuttings in May when all I want to do is think about tulips and geraniums!

  7. I am going to check out Mums from Minnesota!

  8. Great plant combination with the two oranges. I am so confused with the genus changes to the aster family that I haven’t adopted any of them. Hardy mums are generally not hardy so it isn’t you and your luck if they die. There are many nice fall-blooming plants that seem to take dry conditions in my garden, Lobelia siphilitica, Aster tartaricus, Vernonia, Japanese anemones, even garden phlox.

    • bittster says:

      I would like to try the Japanese anemones, but just don’t have enough shade yet. Give me a few more years though!
      I’ve been fairly lucky with the mums, the nursery I buy them from is always up front about the florist ones vs the ones that stand half a chance of surviving….. but sometimes it just doesn’t matter, they’re so nice I don’t care if they make it or not!

  9. I still call them Chrysanthemums, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon! I’ll have to look into those Minnesota Mums; as you’ve said, it’s really hit or miss whether mums come back here. Some years I’ve been lucky and had potted mums come back in the pots, but not this year! I’m glad to have just one bright yellow one in the rock garden now.

    Have you tried Sheffield daisies? I have one that came through last winter very well, and just started blooming last week. It needs to be somewhere less crowded, though. They’re classified as Chrysanthemums/Dendrathemums as well, but they seem hardier. It’s not tremendously showy, though. You’ll see it on my October Bloom Day post later this week.

    Your lettuce looks great–better than my poor, neglected, un-watered spinach seedlings! No frost in the immediate forecast, so maybe you’ll get those 8 salads out of it!

    • bittster says:

      Hi Kimberley,
      I’ll bring you a bunch of chrysanthemum cuttings next spring – assuming they’re as hardy as they’re supposed to be! I bet they would make a fantastic show in your yard or on one of the terraces- assuming you have any open ground left to plant into, you seem to be filling it up fast 🙂
      Are mums on the menu for deer and groundhogs?
      I saw your Sheffield daisies this morning on your post. They look nice! I grew them and a white one a long time ago at my parents house, and they did very well, but I think it’s only the white that survives…. which is amazing since that’s going back at least 15 years.
      My fingers are crossed for the lettuce. It’s still staying warm and we finally had a good soaking so the lettuce has no excuses not to grow!

  10. What is that shrub behind ‘Vicki’? Love the color.

    • bittster says:

      The orange shrub is the fall color on “Tiger Eyes” sumac. It has chartreuse summer color and it’s a cultivar of the native staghorn sumac…. what’s not to like!? (oops, maybe the suckering)

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