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 🙂