Mum's the word

It's no secret that autumn is the favorite season of a number of Westshore area residents, and it appears that some four-legged community members couldn't agree more! Photo by Kathy Luengo

Psssst ... to let you in on a little personal secret, if asked for a quote to describe a favorite facet of fall, it would have to be, “There’s no such thing as too many mums.”

Choosing from rows of colors, bloom sizes, styles, and shapes from local nurseries or other flower purveyors can be overwhelming.

While mums are plentiful at nurseries this time of year, mums pushed in carts or hand-carried by smiling customers to waiting cashiers are also spotted at area grocery stores, and it doesn’t stop there. One local hardware store has sported a great-looking outdoor display of rather large, symmetrical specimens suitable for planters on the porch, or for an extra lush landscape display.

If you’re not finding mums for sale when out and about, don’t worry – they’ll find you!

It’s little wonder that local fall flower fanciers struggle to suppress the urge to buy just one more mum each time they venture out. It matters not whether local residents display a single specimen on a porch, stoop or balcony, or flaunt a pair of mammoth dome-shaped mums in planters gracing the entrance to a mansion. Consider mums as the growing season’s grand finale! Mums add warm colors and texture to the fall palette. How pleasing!

Those reaching into their wallets to buy mums do more than help the local economy. Mums represent a glorious season that many claim to be their favorite for a number of reasons. For the sports-minded, these include: time spent throwing a football with the kids in the yard, going to football games and tailgating. Think marching bands, homecoming dances and, of course, chrysanthemum corsages and boutonnieres!

Mums may lack the delicate fragrance of spring or summer bouquets, but their earthy and mildly pungent aroma is reminiscent of the harvest, of leaves crunching underfoot, of smoke from a crackling wood fire, and of so many things that we enjoy about this sensational season.

Mums in bloom also signal the season when we pick pumpkins (just not by the handle) and enjoy refreshing northerly breezes. Who doesn’t mind sporting a sweater and taking a walk, bike ride or drive amidst fall foliage? Think of the taste sensation of cold, fresh-pressed cider on a bright autumn afternoon when the sun still warms, or that of hot cider garnished with a cinnamon stick on a crisp autumn night! 

Wait! We’re not quite done with mums just yet! Those with exotic tastes searching for another fall refreshment may want to sip chrysanthemum tea which is popular in eastern Asia.

Planting hardy mums of mixed colors, textures, heights and maturity results in a rich autumn tapestry from September through October and, if Mother Nature cooperates, well into November, especially for those living in the lakeshore communities.

Alternately, potted mums are thoughtful gifts that bring the outdoors in as they brighten interior spaces!  

Now, go forth and reap the best that autumn has to offer, and remember that “mum’s the word!”

Read More on Nature & Environment
Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:42 AM, 09.30.2014