I've always been a collector and when it comes to flowers, I really don't hold back. My favorite collection of them all is easily the heirloom chrysanthemums.
I stumbled upon these bold beauties years ago when I was just starting my flower farming journey. Some of my earliest plants came from fellow farmers, along with some general care tips and reassurance that I would grow to adore the straggly little roots I had in my hand.
They were right, I fell madly in love. The first year I grew mums was a complete mess: neglecting them in pots, never trimming back, and hardly offering any fertilizer or water. It didn't matter - they still put on a show. Many other plants shriveled that first year, but not the mums. Regardless of the neglect, they continued to bloom in abundance and in wild shapes and sizes better than I could have hoped. Their late-season arrival, after the provision of color in the fields, made me appreciate the saturated tones these spectacular plants were providing that much more.
I killed most of those plants learning how to overwinter that first year. I was mad, but dedicated to trying again, so I found more roots and tried a second season. The growth went much better and the blooming season even prettier, and that trend continued year after year as I perfected how to keep them safe in the cold months and happy in the warm ones.
These are plants that I dote on all year long, from baby cuttings in the earliest of spring to grown blooms in the fall, pinching, feeding, supporting, documenting, protecting, harvesting, and digging. I’ve learned a lot while growing mums and have a personal favorite, but honestly, it's the rainbow of them all together that really does it for me. I love the many faces they have and the persistent grit they possess to withstand most anything. From some tiny roots to works of art, the heirloom chrysanthemums will always have my heart.
I feel like everyone has a flower story, and the mums are hands down my favorite one. What’s your flower story? What plant or bloom do you have so much history with, that it feels like a part of you?