Okay, I know what you are thinking. 'Magnificent' and 'Mum' are not two words that usually go together. Those little round blob mums you see for sale every fall tend to inspire, at best, words like 'reliable' and usually something along the lines of 'boring.' That's how I thought of mums, until my first trip to Japan, where I took this picture:
You know you are in Japan when the mums are bigger than the trees...
As an aside, I didn't see this in a botanic garden or something. This was just the display on someone's front porch I saw wandering around Nagoya. Grabbing a pot of mums at the supermarket to spruce up the front of the house takes on a little different meaning in Japan.
Seeing mums like these made me think completely differently about them, made me realize that those little lumps of color you see here are just a tiny, tiny bit of the incredible variation in this group of plants.
Since I took that photo, almost a decade ago now, I've been keeping my eyes open for more interesting varieties, with little luck. Until recently, when I found some. Well, not some, a LOT. A whole treasure trove. Turns out a Faribault Growers has a whole line of varieties that are not only gorgeous and voluptuous but also fully winter hardy in Minnesota. Here are a few photos taken from their website:
Luscious. Just luscious. I'm going to stock up my garden with them this year and celebrate fall with a little drama.