Chrysanthemum Season

Fall is chrysanthemum season, and this season the mums are glorious.

Mums are one of my favorite flowers. They're very popular in Japan which is where my love affair with mums began.

Every week the flower mamasan would visit my neighborhood. She carried a huge aluminum dishpan balanced on her head.

Within the dishpan were bunches of cut mums of every color. For a dollar, you could obtain cut flowers to fill 2 vases.

She taught me the secret to making cut mums last for as long as possible. Take the cut flowers and put them in a vase of hot water from the tap. This somehow preserved the blooms better than regular water. 

Readily Available Just About Anywhere

Of course, here in the U.S., cut flowers of every variety are available at your local supermarket or on a busy boulevard where commuters can be hailed and cajoled into buying flowers to take home.

Something else that abounds in the flower section of my local supermarket are potted mums. They're offered just about every month. 

These are grown in greenhouses and are not the same as the garden mums you can also buy now. I usually don't buy garden mums because I get a second life from the mums I buy for indoors.

Every few weeks, I buy a pot of mums of whatever color strikes my fancy and place the plastic pot of them into a large round flower pot.

I have several of these large pots that I bought when I lived in Japan. They are ceramic pots decorated with leaves and flowers and were called fishbowls over there. The pot of mums, orange at the moment, graces my coffee table for a couple of weeks. I check the soil each day to make sure they have enough moisture.

Mums Live 2 Lives

When the blooms begin to fade, I remove the plastic pot from the decorative flower pot and carry them outside. 

I remove them from the plastic pot and plant them either in the yard or in one of the huge flower pots where I have herbs or some other plant growing. 

I cut off the tops of the fading mums, back to an inch above the soil, and let Mother Nature and time work their magic. 

In a couple of weeks or less, new green shoots begin to appear from the mums. By spring, they'll bloom again. I'll cut them back, and by late autumn, I'll have another blooming period from them. Best of all, the mums will multiply so a small bunch eventually becomes a beautiful display.

I've got different colored mums in many places in the yards of both of my houses. Bronze ones begin blooming when the lantana at the ranch begins to die back. White ones and purple ones with yellow centers are in my herb pots. There's an endless variety to this flower that produces its own natural pesticide. 

Natural Pesticide

Mums contain a neurotoxin called Pyrethrin, that kills insectsand repels ticks, fleas, ants, Japanese beetles and many other insects. Pyrethril is sold as a pesticide. It is considered safe for use around most animals except cats and fish who are sensitive to it. The danger lies in how concentrated or how large an amount might be ingested.

Takeaway Truth

Mums are beautiful, showy, and easy to grow. 

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