My history with chrysanthemums stretches all the way back to childhood. A visit to my maternal great grandfather's home exposed me to what a man could do growing flowers. He generously gave me divisions of several chrysanthemums but the move across two climate zones and the inattention typical of a twelve year old boy ended them. The memory of him and his gardens is no doubt a motivating force driving me to garden.
At this time of year pots of mums are in abundance at the retail stores. Chemically fed and mechanically pruned, they are covered with flowers. Several times I have purchased them with the hope that some scrap of life would appear in the spring. That never happened. Root bound masses were easy to remove since no new growth was present. Becky refers to these plants as cupcake mums since that is what their shape suggests.
Clara Curtis was our first hardy mum. Mail order purchased in the spring, it has proven to be as hardy as dandelions. The above photo was taken August 10th and the plants are still in flower. We have given away boxes of plants suitable for division and are presently overrun with them. I resolve to pot up, plant out and pinch back several specimens so that this beauty can reach its full potential next year.
Mammoth Pink has also been with us for several years. Larger more brightly colored flowers set it apart from Clara Curtis. It has proven itself to be hardy here and we have a surplus of them also. That is the kind of gardening problem that I can live with. Here again, we need to give great care to a manageable number of these plants.
Red Daisy identifies this plant. We may have it growing in three different places but Daisy Rose is another possibility for one or two of these similar plants. Planted near a stone wall, this plant is flourishing. The catalog clearly identifies their mums as hardy to zone five. Perhaps if we take advantage of sheltered spots in the garden, we can keep these alive.
Out in the direct flow of our frost river, this Nor'easter has little to show for its three years with us. Its flowers are just what we were looking for but there is not much to this plant. Perhaps a move to a gentler area of the garden will help this plant along. You can tell by the number of plastic name tags that we have purchased more than one of this variety.
Debutante is a vigorous garden mum. This single plant is ready for division. Next year should see a large planting of this very attractive plant.
Bluestone Perennials is our mail order source for chrysanthemums. They feature a wide selection of several different types of mums. If your hardiness zone is actually 5 or higher, then you should have good results with their plants. Our zone 4 location presents challenges but in the long run I think that we will find some of these plants to be perennial here.