Not your Mum’s Mum

Chrysanthemum x moriflorium ‘Ryan’s Pink’ which also comes in shades and hues of yellow, lavender, and those in between, is a showstopper in the late autumn garden. Garden designer Ryan Gainey has dubbed several of the color ways as his namesakes and they are readily available through reputable growers and nurseries alike. Yet, what is so fascinating to me in the plant kingdom is the constant genetic turnovers that can take place, thus yielding cornucopias of different plants – the Chysanthemum genus of no exception.

From Ryan’s color series to ‘Dr. Rigdon’ and ‘Thanksgiving’ which bloom, well, about the time of Turkey Day, November can be a mass of blossoms and blooms from start to finish. Though kissin’ cousins of your garden variety mum, these daisy-like Chrysanthemums are not trained to be a round bouffant dans le jardin.

The typical mums we see in the fall are pinched and forced to blooms as they are seen but would grow like their powerhouse perennial cousins if allowed. Here is the trick: plant Chrysanthemums in the spring or early summer (or take your leftovers from the fall) in the garden and keep them trimmed back throughout the growing season. About mid to late summer, stop trimming the Chrysanthemums and let them bounce in to boughs of blooms that last well into the depth of autumn and into the holidays.

Husband and wife growers and friends of mine, Chuck and Chris Stewart of Madison, Georgia, have now developed a series of these Chrysanthemums still waiting to be named, yet I suspect they’ll have Tapestry in the name, in honor of their greenhouse operation. These new cultivars and varieties, the latter occurring naturally while the former is a contraction of the two words and bred intentionally, will be introduced to the garden market over the next few growing seasons. Shades of peach, apricot, creamy yellow, delicate orange, and coral pinks abound on these plants, often all hues on the same plant, and make for a delightful splash of fall color in the garden.

Mix these blossoms with fall foliage for bouquets and tablescapes, or cluster jars and bottles full of different shades for an autumnal homage to the kaleidoscope of color this season brings. Plant them with companions such as ‘Rachel Jackson’ aster, rosemary, artemisia, parsley, ornamental grasses and sages. Remember this Farmer’s moxy, plant in spring for a fabulous fall and plant in fall for a splendid spring. Chrysanthemums are of no exception! Fall is the garden’s swan song, and with notes such as these perennials, the season proves to be a glorious tune. From this Farmer’s garden to yours, I hope you too will plant and relish these fabo flowers in your garden.