Goodbye 2015

All the random wandering around the garden with camera in hand have surely raised an eyebrow or two in my neighborhood and I’m sure neighbors question how I can focus on so many things without stopping for even one selfie.  For the last month though I wonder if anyone has noticed how normal things have been?  For whatever reason I’ve been just fine looking and not photographing and as a result there’s next to no record of October to blog about.  So it’s been quiet around here.  Lets see if we can change that, and let’s see if the last of the chrysanthemums will do the trick!

chrysanthemums

A mix of winter hardy chrysanthemums blooming in the garden this month. I have their names somewhere but that’s a job for next spring’s transplanting, when I’m sure I’ll be able to tell one dried stem from the next… (although I do know ‘Dolliette’ is the bicolor in the center)

The last few years have seen an unexpected interest in one of the least interesting plants I grow.  Pots of disposable mums fill every grocery and DYI store and farmstand at this time of year and the rounded blobs of color shouldn’t really do anything for my gardening passion…. but they do, and I’m not really sure where this came from.  As usual I blame the internet.

hardy mums

A weather weary white chrysanthemum next to a few reds. Between fresh and faded flowers you wouldn’t guess all five of the oranges and red flowers come from the same plant.

It started innocently enough with trying to overwinter a few of the seasonal color pots which we came across at various nurseries and farmstands, and it grew from there.  I wanted to give something more reliable (and interesting) a try and found Mums of Minnesota and their University of Minnesota introductions.  If it grows in Minnesota it should work here, right?

chrysanthemum in the garden

Chrysanthemums taking over the vegetable garden.

Besides spending the last couple years adding named mums to the garden I also grew on a few seedlings.  It’s surprising how nice a mum you can get from a few old seedheads, and they’re fast and easy!

chrysanthemum from seed

A few chrysanthemum from seed, early and late bloomers, tall and short.

So far they’ve been overwintering well with no effort on my part, but some are far hardier than others.  One of the hardiest are the seedlings of ‘Innocence’ which I grew from HPS seed exchange seeds.  They do need trimming in July to control height (or staking… if you’re into that kind of stuff) but otherwise they’re carefree.

chrysanthemum innocence

Seedling of chrysanthemum ‘innocence’. Most are pink and white but this year I found my first “ugly” seedling, a small orange which you can see at the lower right of this photo. It’s already found a place on the compost pile.

Some of the odd petal forms even show up in the seedlings.  I like this unusual mix of orange with just a touch of pink on this spoon shaped petal.  We’ll see how this one looks next year with a little more room.

chrysanthemum from seed

An interesting self-sown chrysanthemum seedling.

Besides loving the surprises of new seedlings I’ve also become smitten by the fat football types.  I was surprised by their hardiness last year and of course had to add a few more this spring, and even though they were rudely crammed into the edges of the vegetable garden they’ve still put on a halfway decent show.

football chrysanthemums

A few football chrysanthemums in the vegetable garden.

This is the time of year when preparations begin for next year, and although a harsh, early freeze put an end to much of the garden’s chrysanthemum show I’m still excited about these newest additions and am already looking forward to next season.  According to the grower’s website some of these will put out 5+ inch blooms if properly cared for and disbudded, and even though this also means staking I might just give it a try next year.  A couple potfuls of big football mums might be just the thing our front porch needs 🙂

31 comments on “Goodbye 2015

  1. Pauline says:

    You have almost converted me! I may give them a try next year, they would extend the season in the “late summer border”, I know who to blame if I get hooked on them!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, good luck! Although I’m not all that crazy about the lumpy ones commonly sold in the autumn I bet a few of the taller airier types would fit in perfectly…. Only problem is they’re so much harder to find these days.

  2. Chloris says:

    Wow, you do grow a lot of chrysanthemums. You have some beauties. You just can’ t beat them for late colour. I have never thought of growing them from seed. I must give it a try.

    • bittster says:

      Growing from seed is so much fun come autumn! Reliable, planned color is a responsible way to go, but I really like the surprises you get when a bunch of new seedlings come into bloom.

  3. And here I thought I was the only one who has been dilatory in the photo-taking department! 🙂 Your chrysanthemums are gorgeous; like Pauline, they make me consider the possibility of perhaps devoting part of one bed to them in the next garden. Growing from seed… hmm… interesting…. hmmm again…

    • bittster says:

      You are not at all alone in your end if season lapse. I just can’t get past the end of the growing year blues and this warm spell is just making our early freeze even more regrettable…
      🙂 one of the things I didn’t elaborate on is that my version of “growing from seed” involves less premeditation and more letting things go to seed and combining that with poor mulching practices. All I really did was weed out everything else that came up and allow the chrysanthemum seedlings to grow on!

  4. Cathy says:

    I have never really liked Chrysanthemums except for one in a pot on the front steps every autumn which then ends up in the compost heap…. I think I have been conditioned by marketing strategies in garden centres here! Your pictures are so lovely though and you have such a nice mix of sizes as well as colours. Maybe I should squeeze one in next year and give them a second chance. 😉

    • bittster says:

      It will be worth a try to let one grow in the open garden. They seem to stay in bloom longer and blend more nicely than the perfect round balls sold in the fall…. Not that a nice pot of color doesn’t cheer up any autumn doorway!

      • Cathy says:

        I’ve been converted after seeing several pretty Chrysanths on other blogs too – two are on my list for my spring order! 😉

  5. I have a clump of Sheffield Pink and I am impressed by how good it looks after a too-early snowfall and several nights in the low 20s. All I can think is, I really need more of this kind of hardy bloomer. I will have to check out your source.

    • bittster says:

      Let me know what you’re thinking in the spring. Mine are nice enough but our crushing first frost of low twenties killed off many of the blooms. A few have come back or were enough in bud to escape the total damage but I wasn’t happy with the way things ended. Maybe a nice Sheffield pink would brighten things up into November…. Otherwise I’ll have to start planning and planing into more protected locations.

  6. Annette says:

    What do you mean by ‘how normal things have been’? Nothing too normal around here, haha. Yep, I quite like chrysanthemums too, especially the ‘simple’ ones. There was a great feature in Gardens Illustrated last month about them. In Japan they’re highly appreciated and the varieties there knocked me off my chair and they have nothing in common with the ones for sale round here.

    • bittster says:

      I’ve seen a few of those amazing autumn celebrations of chrysanthemums. They’re really elevated to a new level!
      I’m afraid my planting will never reach those high points though. The look of a looser plant swaying in a late autumn breeze will always win me over when compared to a stiff, staked, uncomfortably perfect bloom.
      – not that I can’t appreciate the beauty in both, but the other version is so much work!!

  7. Christina says:

    Wow! You have quite a collection there! I was a bit taken aback by your title, but I suppose your weather is closing in and it is goodbye to your lovely garden until next spring; I don’t know how you bare it, although I suppose in a way it is a bit like our summer when all the plants hibernate!

    • bittster says:

      I suppose it’s like your summer, but I’m afraid it’s much darker and colder, and I think I’d chose the relentless sun and heat if given the choice! The only good thing is it gives you time to reflect, and when things start warming up again the gardener is renewed and itching to go!
      Today though the trees are mostly bare again, and it will be a good five months before there’s even a slight chance of seeing a snowdrop 🙂

  8. Why shouldn’t you enjoy your Chrysanthemums? As guilty pleasures go, they are pretty benign. Have you gone to Longwood in the past for the Chrysanthemum Festival?

    • bittster says:

      I haven’t seen the Longwood display but I’m hoping you have a few pictures up this week! I saw that the ‘conservatory’ post was up, but haven’t had a chance to look yet…
      Between dahlias and chrysanthemums I think I’m still far below my limit for guilt pleasures. It could be far worse, right?

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Your chrysanthemums look great. They’re really quite useful for indoors and out.

  10. I don’t much like chrysanthemums, Frank, but must admit they are the only plants in bloom in my garden right now. I haven’t had much luck overwintering them in the past. Yours are very lovely, a colorful end to the season. I should rethink and maybe I’ll try some seedlings. P. x

    • bittster says:

      I’m trying to see which ones do best in the open and exposed parts of the garden. They shrug off drought, but a few haven’t seemed too happy with the last winters… and I can’t blame them of course 🙂
      I was also never too fond if chrysanthemums. They seemed so boring, and I guess other than providing masses of color many still are kind of dull. I’m hoping a few of the airier, more garden friendly types win me over… The allure of the fancy and fat ones may not last forever, but maybe out of the others I’ll end up getting one or two new long time friends!

  11. Very nice! I am a sucker for the pinks. I have really unknowingly started collecting dendranthemums which are filling the garden now. Not sure if you have heard of Kings Mums. But they have some fun mums that might appeal to you.

    • bittster says:

      I just visited the King’s mums website and there sure are a lot of interesting things! Maybe a little playing around with some non-hardy mums wouldn’t be the worst thing 😉
      I do like the hardy daisies the best though. A few are still hanging on out there today and I love those last bits of color.

  12. Indie says:

    So interesting you grew them from seedlings! You don’t find people growing mums from seed too often. What a great way to get some fall color in the garden! I only have Sheffield mums in my current garden, which I like more than the pincushion mums, though when I lived down south I planted some of those ones you get at the nurseries in fall and they did fine in the garden.

    • bittster says:

      I’ve been hearing a lot about Sheffield pink lately, I might have to add it since a few people say it handles a good amount of freeze… And many of mine did not 😦
      Don’t be too impressed by the seed growing. I grew one potful on purpose, the rest were selfsown, and all that was left to me was not to weed them out!

  13. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts even though I haven’t taken time to comment. I always hate for the season to end but mums are a great send off. If you’re like me, though, you are already planning for next year.

    • bittster says:

      haha, I just left your blog and saw your comment. We must have just missed each other on the internet lines!
      I’ve been hit or miss on commenting as well. Reading is so much more fun and sometimes you just want to enjoy. Plus I usually fit my browsing time in on my phone, and comments are always a pain on that tiny touch screen!

  14. I’ve had pots of grocery store mums come back for me, too. I was surprised by how tough and beautiful they were. The only mum I have is a big Sheffield pink perennial mum. You have some really beautiful ones!

    • bittster says:

      It all started for me with a grocery mum… then I added another, lost a couple, added a couple more. These things come and go, who knows, I might kill them all this winter 🙂

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