Our society has many uses for chrysanthemums as a cut flower. We can tend to overlook how magnificent the “The Queen of Fall Flowers” is for landscape purposes.
They’re low-maintenance and, when in bloom, give a bouquet display. The flowers come in all shapes and sizes, which can be seen at the 2014 National Chrysanthemum Society National Convention and Show in Phoenix this Nov. 13-16.
Found on Chinese pottery dating to 500 B.C., the chrysanthemum was originally a Chinese herb. The golden daisy-like flowers evoked a sense of the natural world in rules and poets alike. As mums spread through time and countries, the flower was made more impressive with Japanese floriculture and western hybridization. The herbal and medicinal properties have been phased out for more impressive blooms in array of colors. Showy in autumn when other perennials are going dormant, it has many symbolic meanings – luck, masculinity, perfection, death – and it is an object of meditation.
A few gardening tips for mums:
• When 6 inches tall, prune back 1 inch. After an additional 6 inches of growth, being a foot tall, prune back 1 inch.
• Six months after planting, apply water-soluble or organic fertilizer once a month throughout the growing season.
• Every two years in spring after new growth appears, dig it up and cut the root ball in half with a knife; remove the dead and unhealthily looking foliage. Plant half back in the hole. The other half can be planted somewhere else (space 18 inches to 24 inches apart) or potted up for the porch or a gift.
• Potted mums should be place in a protected area during winter dormancy.
If you happen to pass a chrysanthemum bloom, think of this:
“Written on the Ninth Day of
the Ninth Month of the Year”
“I built my house near where others dwell,
And yet there is no clamour of carriages and horses.
You ask of me “How can this be so?”
“When the heart is far the place of itself is distant.”
I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge,
And gaze afar towards the southern mountains.
The mountain air is fine at evening of the day
And flying birds return together homewards.
Within these things there is a hint of Truth,
But when I start to tell it, I cannot find the words.
– Tao Yuanming, 365 – 427 A.D.