26 January 2011

Magnificent Mums

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.


Jan @TWOwomenANDaHOE said...

Your Mums are Magnificent!

May all your Mums grow!


Christopher Tidrick said...

They almost look like dahlias. Very nice.

Tom said...

I'm jealous. I want to go to Japan for mum season! In the mean time here are my favorite mums in the US:


I think my favorite cultivar was 'Wisp of Pink' though really I like anything in the "brush and thistle" class.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good things come out of Minnesota!! :-)


Unknown said...

I keep coming back to this link ever since you posted in one of your comments. I like the Grape Glow and Maroon Pride from the Garden Decorative category. The less regular shape they have appeals to me. I also like the Cheerleader one you posted!

I'm still lusting after the mums from the Gardens Illustrated November issue though :-(

Kat said...

Now these are mums worth talking about. I love these. I actually remember seeing these in garden centers when I was a kid, but they are sure hard to find now. Too bad because there are some really spectacular plants out there.

scottweberpdx said...

I think the lack of Mum's appeal to most gardeners is the fact that there is SUCH a limited variety available at most nurseries and garden centers. I'm very partial to the single varieties, but they are practically absent. Love that last one "Cheerleader". I think the also suffer from their own ubiquity as a seasonal filler, some people just don't want to grow something they see as "ordinary" or "common".

meemsnyc said...

The cheerleader one looks awesome.

Anonymous said...

Most nurseries sell annual mums rather than the perennial mums because they want the customers returning year and year spending money at their garden center. My garden center does not sell very many perennial mums, in fact, you have to ask them where they hide them! Can't blame the garden centers when they are trying to compete against the big boxes. I remember attending the mum show at SF Zoo one year. It was fascinating!

Sheila H

Carlie said...

Japan has winter, right? Why can't we get any of those gorgeous, lush, curving ones here? *sigh* I've been dreaming and wishing for big full spider mums and such for a couple of years now. At least you've found a start.

Joseph said...

Japan totally has winter, the climate is very similar to the East Cost of the US, but there are TONS of amazing plants in Japan that have never made it across to the US. Great people like Barry Yinger have introduced a lot, but there are many many more yet to be brought over.