Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I don't remember paying attention to how mums grew when I was younger - I don't remember my mother growing mums particularly, or if she did, I didn't watch them grow. Mums are big in the fall here in New York; they are offered for sale everywhere. I have bought a few and plunked them in the ground with mixed success. Sometimes they grow again in the spring, sometimes they freeze overwinter and don't come back..
Since mums are offered in bloom, starting in August or September, I'm always a little surprised at how long it takes the ones in the ground to get around to blooming. I hang over them, urging them to hurry up, they won't get around to blooming before they're frozen. They ignore me. They go on at their own deliberate pace, doing their own thing at their own time. They laugh at frost warnings and ignore colder weather that is killing off my summer annuals.
This beauty attracted my eye originally because the petals are little tubes, where the petals never separate to unfold completely. It's in my back garden and it had a hard life this year.
It sent up stems that reached about 8 to 12 inches high before being set upon by Japanese beetles who gnawed the leaves down to skeletons before I managed to get the beetles under control. Apparently unable to replace the leaves, it made a hasty additional new growth of another 8-12 inches complete with new leaves. Being now topheavy, the first rainstorm knocked it all over, flat on the ground. Trying to tie it up was not succesful, so I left it to its fate. Nothing detered, it made a right angle for each stem and sent up another 6 to8 inches of stem before setting buds. This week, in the middle of rain and slush and snow, the buds are opening up - the only, last, bright spot in the garden.
So... if mums want cold weather for blooming, do the hot houses have to refrigerate them to get them to bloom in August?


cyndy said...

When I worked in a hothouse (in my teen years) we got our mums as cuttings early in the spring. We would pot them up, and the real trick here was to "dis-bud" the side shoots to get a nice big round pot of bloom. Not sure how the field grown places raise them...We used to order from Yoder Bros.

Cathy said...

Hmm - Cyndy is making me think about doing some "disbudding" in the spring. My mums used to have a lovely round shape then got crowded. Now I have a clue how to re-shape them.