Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ode to the Lowly Chrysanthemum

I used to be a chrysanthemum snob! Chrysanthemums were "granny" flowers. I was much too sophisticated to notice them. I wanted beauties such as Bleeding Hearts and Azaleas! I spent time trying to amend my alkaline, North Texas soil to successfully grow these showy plants, only to find they would soon become scraggly and unattractive. I also tried my hand at roses. Time, money, and bleeding hands were soon more than I was willing to sacrifice.

Time passed. One of the gifts my students sometimes gave me was a pot of chrysanthemums. I would give the obligatory "ooh and ahh" over their blooming kindness, add water and set the pot in the window until it became overgrown and leggy. Then I would lug it home because I felt too guilty to just let it die. I would stick it in the ground somewhere, anywhere, out of the way.

As I watered my garden, I would occasionally remember these little afterthoughts and spray a drink their way. I slowly noticed that even though I neglected them, they would struggle back year after year!

When I put my official flower bed in along the front of my house, I dug up the various chrysanthemums that I had stuck here and there and planted them in the prepared bed. I nurtured them along with the garden-center plants I had purchased. The chrysanthemums became huge and showy, crowded with smiling blooms! Those glorious blooms stayed on literally for months! I fell in love with my chrysanthemums and they soon became my favorite flowers!

I lost several of my plant friends in a recent drought. It was sad; I had some for 5-8 years. I have slowly planted new friends. On my teacher gift list at school I proudly wrote “chrysanthemums”, hoping for more of these precious gifts that keep on giving!

Such a happy color!

One plant cascading over the wall!

Purple pretties!


Small and delicate!

One of my new friends!

Still blooming strong 5 years and one drought later!
Another new friend. Such a pretty color combination!

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