This "Emperor of China" chrysanthemum is quite remarkable. Even with nights in the twenties, heavy morning frosts and no covering at night, it continues to produce its pretty pink blooms. It seems that a hard frost is necessary before these flowers will open. Each fall we impatiently watch, hoping that these flowers will have their chance to bloom while the buds remain tightly closed. Each year, with the rest of the garden mostly brown, the "Emperor of China" chrysanthemum produces its dazzling display after the frost.
A closer look at the mostly brown garden reveals that all is not dead. These "Clara Curtis" chrysanthemums have started next year's growth. The dried stalks from this year will be cut and placed over the new growth after the ground has frozen hard. We can never decide when to cut the dead stalks. Sometimes they are cut early and set close aside to use as winter mulch. Other times they are left in place to be cut later.
Having long ago given up on the root bound cupcake mums that never winter over for us here, we search for hardy mums and plant them in the spring. Next year we hope to have these two, as well as "Mammoth pink" and "Mary Stoker" return . In the meantime the hardy mum search continues .