Photo Credit: Lehman College
Nothing brings back the innocent memories of a summer romance like chrysanthemums. Its dusty musty scent never fails to bring back allot of happy memories of young love. Memories when I spent one lovely summer in Australia visiting my grandparents. It was the Fall of ’99 when I first set my eyes on its lovely colors and stroked its delicate petals. A boy who lives across my grandparent’s farm gave it to me as welcome present. I can still remember how the smells made my heart skip a beat, and how my cheeks turned red when I accepted it. Like a shy 15 year old, I pretended by playing it cool but seriously my inner goddess was doing some back flips from excitement.
After spending a month long vacation in the land down under, I had to say goodbye to that boy who gave me those gorgeous chrysanthemums. I grew pretty fond of him as we spent most of my vacation discovering new places and chasing butterflies in gardens. He took me to his family’s flower farm where we spent our time admiring a wide array of flowers and learning a thing or two about gardening. I never thought that I’d have a knack for gardening but after that Summer in Australia I found myself making a small garden of my own, of which chrysanthemums were among the first flowers I planted.
The best time to plant the “mums” (the name most people call them) is during Spring time. Spring is the season where they can fully bloom when planted in full sunshine. Flowers like mums need to acclimate to the soil, so they can grow strong roots for Fall harvest. Just like any flowers, the mums have many varieties. The varieties offer a multitude of delightful colors, height, size and time of bloom. Each variety has its own charm, needs and uses. I chose the “decorative” type of mums so I don’t have to buy flowers to perk up my room. These types of mums have long and large petals which often last for several weeks.
I decided to grow chrysanthemums in front of our house where they can get more sunlight. Providing the mums enough water is very important, but be sure not to drench them. The perfect time is during the morning so there is a plenty of time to dry during the day. Avoid watering at night and when the sun is at its hottest. A little fertilization is not bad and a little pinching of the new growth will help them grow into a healthy rounded shape. With enough patience and tender loving care I was greeted with many amazing colors, a reminder of my perfect summer.
Fun Fact: Did you know that chrysanthemums originated in China? Yes, they were first cultivated as a flowering herb in the 15th century. They didn’t reach the United States until 1798.