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Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials

Marvelous Mums

by Barbara Pleasant

Now showing at a garden near you (or perhaps in your own) the Golden Flowers of the Orient are bursting into bloom. Though best known for firing up fall with color, chrysanthemums are among the easiest perennials to grow in a garden-regardless of where that garden happens to be. Mums are happy in the dry heat of the Southwest or the humidity of either of the Washingtons, and many varieties can withstand winters in Minnesota or Maine.

Mums are great impersonators, too. With nearly a dozen flower forms to choose from, you can grow mums that look like pastel daisies, or fluffy quilled zinnias, or refined dahlias, or maybe the large, fancy ones with incurving petals called "football" mums. The chrysanthemum palette includes every color but blue, and the holding time for blossoms, even in a vase, is measured in weeks rather than days. Merely keeping a pot on your porch is to miss a great growing opportunity, because mums are the perfect perennials to let into your beds.

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