Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saving Your Mum....

I went through a long period where I simply refused to buy potted chrysanthemums ("mums") in the fall because they really didn't last all that long, compared to the months of color pansies provide, and I hated chucking them out -- and I hated even worse trying to keep them alive in the pot.

Then I discovered that here in our Zone 8-ish location, I could drop the root ball into the ground when the blooms grew tired, cut it back a tad and let each mum rest over the winter while it rooted in. Yep, they died back. Yep, they don't look like much for most of the summer.  But now they are in their glory.    I cleared a lot of the inner garden area where the mums had been residing but missed this little gal.  I realized that this valiant mum's been blooming like this every fall for at least five years. No special care.  I think maybe I run pruners across it when it first takes off and I suspect legginess might be in store.  After that, it kind of hangs out amid the showy summer flowers, just a green ball.  Now the others are gone and there it is.  I leave it with this haiku, for the chrysanthemums are a treasured part of oriental flower lore:

Before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
a moment.

 - Yosa Buson  Translated by Robert Hass

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