Hardy Mums


In the UK, hardy mums are mothers with great resiliency, but here in Michigan, they’re colorful fall flowers. Mums can be planted as perennials, which will come up year after year, but require a lot of summer maintenance to keep them looking full and bushy. That’s why many people here use them as fall annuals. We plant them in September and October, when summer annuals and perennials have begun to fade and look scraggly. This year I bought a flat of small mums for about $15 that had tightly closed flower buds, and planted them in my window boxes and flower pots. It took awhile for the plants to fill out and grow, but now I have a beautiful riot of colorful mums that look fresh from the greenhouse.  Local greenhouses here usually stock mums  into late October and early November, in all stages of bloom, so I’ll often buy a couple late in the season and use them indoors for a cheery burst of fall color, or for Thanksgiving decorations, if I can still find good ones that late in the season. 

The other hardy mum.

Hardy mums prefer cool temperatures, which is why they thrive long after summer flowers are gone. They will remain alive until there is  a hard frost. If planted in the ground, they can be cut back and will come up the next year, but usually never look as good and full as the first year they were planted. Container mums can be thrown in with yard waste compost once done blooming.

Many people pair hardy mums with pansies, another cool weather plant. The  squirrels in my yard religiously dig up any fall pansies I’ve ever tried plant, so I’ve given up on them, but  the mums also look great alone or can be paired with late ferns, perennial sedum, or pumpkins and gourds. Hardy mums come in brilliant colors of yellow, orange, rusty red, maroon red, purple, light yellow and white. I like the yellow, reds and purples best, which make a nice compliment to the fall landscape.

Brilliant! (© Huffygirl 2011)

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 © Huffygirl 2011

A basket of pansies


Beautiful pansies and violas (© Huffygirl 2011)

Right now my basket of yellow pansies and blue violas looks great. But its days are numbered. Pansies are cool-weather flowers that do well in spring, fall and early summer. Soon, the hot summer weather will cause these pansies to become leggy and anemic-looking. Once they become sickly looking, they’ll probably end up in the compost bin, as it’s unlikely that they’ll last long enough to make a comeback when the cooler weather arrives. So I’m enjoying them today and hope you do too.

Cheery yellow pansies with blue violas peeking out from behind. (© Huffygirl 2011)

© Huffygirl 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring


Pansies begging to be planted (Photo: Huffygirl)

I thought I’d give this a try. WordPress is encouraging bloggers to take part in a Weekly Photo Challenge. Each Friday they offer a theme for a photo challenge. They didn’t mention anything about prizes or anything, so I’m not sure what the “challenge” part is. Maybe the challenge is just to do it, not to see who does it best, although, hey WordPress, maybe picking a winner is not a bad idea. Just sayin’.

Anyway, today the challenge is SPRING. Here in Michigan, it doesn’t look much like spring yet, but fortunately I visited a spring garden expo today, and took my camera along. To me, nothing says spring more than a trip to the greenhouse. I hope these spring photos will give you enough of a taste of spring until the real thing gets here!

Handmade table (Photo: Huffygirl)

This table and chair set was handmade by one of the greenhouse employees. There is a “stream” that runs down the middle of the table, drips off the end into a rock-covered recirulating pump. The pipe to recirculate the water back up to the table is hidden in one of the table legs. The chairs don’t look very inviting, but wouldn’t his look great on your patio?

Stream and waterfall (Photo: Huffygirl)

Waterfall, man-made of course (Photo: Huffygirl)

This stream and waterfall looked so real, it was hard to believe it was man-made. If you look closely, you can see the rims of some of the pots showing in the background.

If you get a chance to attend a spring garden expo, do it. It may just tide you over until spring.