Fall is such a lovely time of year! I love watching the birds look for berries, the wind blowing red, yellow, and orange leaves across the drive. I even enjoy raking leaves. The rich earthy hues that the world takes on are so wonderful. I like watching the sway of grasses in the wind, the bright colors of mums, and the crunch of dried leaves underfoot.
This week, the spotlight goes to garden mums. They are intertwined into the feel of fall. As children, we remember seeing these crimson and burnt orange colors appearing on our own, or our neighbor’s doorsteps. Planted in pots they brighten any front door. Do you remember the displays with pumpkins and scarecrows? They never seem quite complete without some splashes of mum colors.
Often during this season, we get the question; will it make it through the winter if I plant it now? The question is a hard one. Mums are perennials. That means they should come back every year, however, they are better classified as tender perennials in our zone 5 location. If they are placed in a protected location and mulched well, they should make it just fine. The goal is to protect the crown and the roots and keep them from getting too cold. We treat our mums as an annual because they have been bred for optimum flowering rather than hardiness. The best plan for establishing mums in the landscape is to purchase them in the summer, while they are still small. Plant them at this stage to encourage deep roots in your soil. Also consider a spot that is sunny and somewhat protected for best results.