Saturday, September 8, 2012
Mum's The Word
Bright flowers backed by a dry stone wall is a favorite setting of ours. It is a combination that seldom fails to stage beauty. Here a long time resident Clara Curtis chrysanthemum holds the eye. We are getting a little better at pinching off early buds to both shape the plant and to increase the number of blossoms. The taller plant in the back may have only been pinched once.
The business end of the flower is the yellow central disc. A newly opened flower will show raised pollen bearing anthers completely around the disc. Various insects harvest the pollen and as the flower matures it shows less and less pollen. The pink rays simply look nice. Whether or not they actually attract the pollinators is conjecture but they certainly catch my eye.
These Mammoth Dark Pink Daisy chrysanthemums were purchased from Roots and Rhizomes in 2010. This spring the plant had increased in size enough to allow division. The three pictured plants were placed in front of Oriental lilies and behind a daylily. A better foreground plant will have to be found but the chrysanthemum foliage worked well in front of the Orientals.
Newly opened flowers display the darkest coloration. Older flowers lighten toward white begging to be pinched off to keep the display bright. Vigorous and hardy here in zone 4, this mum is a definite keeper.
The appearance of flowers on the Asters and the Chrysanthemums sweetly signal the move toward fall. We are now spending most of our outdoor time preparing the garden for next year. Pulling weeds before they seed, we may be a little late on that front, and planting buckwheat are our primary activities. It will soon be time to open new ground for the garlic. September frost is common in our area at the higher elevations so we need to begin potting up our tender favorites. Soon all of the horizontal surfaces near windows will be covered with plants in pots.