African Garden + work

Chrysanthemum & Dendranthema

Fran Sorin, at Gardening Gone Wild, recently wrote several posts making a strong case for her dislike of mums. For the defense, Colleen at In the Garden Online has posted about the virtues of mums. For me, the jury is still out.
I admit that I can't work up much enthusiasm about these plants. Even the name is, well, kind of lame. "Mum" brings to mind old ladies in pillbox hats, being followed by Corgis and bowing subjects. A "Chrysanthemum" could be something used during a baptism. "Dendranthema" (if that's what they're still calling it), sounds like something that should be buzzing through the garden, with iridescent wings and bulging eyes.
I don't like mums of different colors mixed together, and I don't like the button shape of most mums. I also am put off by the way the annual mums are used, generally stuffed into pots to replace tired Summer annuals. Am I prejudiced against them?

But then I consider the individual example of the mum in my garden. Several times I've thought about ripping it out, but it is planted in my son's garden, and he adamantly refuses to allow its removal. I don't know the identity of this mum, as it is a pass-along plant from my mom. It is hardy, at least to Zone 6, as my mom has had it forever it seems, planted against an East-facing brick wall. Mine is also in an Eastern exposure, planted against the only brick on my house, the chimney. The plant is reliable and blooms every year. So it's got that going for it. It also has daisy-shaped flowers, which are almost charming. It is planted on a sharp slope, but never needs additional watering, another point in its favor. The color of the flower is not exactly my taste, a little too orange, but, then again, it is not the Sodium Chromate yellow or rusty orange of most mums. I guess that counts as a positive.

Finally, and most significantly, it is the very last plant to start blooming here at Squirrelhaven (if I don't count the occasional December bloom of Galanthus elwesii as late, rather than early). Anything that starts blooming so late and can take some frost has some merit.
Weighing the preponderance of the evidence (I am trying to be civil), I find that this particular mum can stay. I may even like it a little. But don't quote me on that.

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Chrysanthemum & Dendranthema + work