Bloomin’ Update 46: Mum’s The Word


Mum is actually just one of the words that comes to mind this weekend.  The other word is menopause.

The calendar says October, but the tenth month seems to be experiencing an August-worthy hot flash.  The heat and humidity combined with the fall colors, as well as a rain deficit here, feels a little odd — but it hasn’t stopped the mums from doing their thing.

Nor did it stop this gardener from taking a walk with his camera.


This mum is at least ten years old.  About the only care I give it is a pinch-back on Memorial Day and on the Fourth of July to encourage branching.  Then, I leave it alone.




Bees, wasps, and other nectar lovers are oblivious to the warmer-than-normal weather.  In fact, I think they rather enjoy it as they buzz around what were starburst-like ivy flowers.  The buds are now on their way to becoming berries.



In between photos, I did some cleaning up — to be featured in the next post — and I spotted this weed that had sprung up from behind a row of boxwood.  I’m not sure what it is, but it resembles milkweed.


I decided to leave it there for a couple of reasons.

First, it escaped my inspections all summer and finally reached this point in its lifecycle.  After all that work, it kind of earned the chance to go all the way.

Second, if it is milkweed, this is the first one that’s ever bloomed in my garden — and because I chose not to remove it, there’s a good chance it could be the first of many.  Besides, butterflies love it.

And third, I imagine these fuzzy seeds traveling on a breeze, only to be captured and then wished upon.  Lately, it seems, we could all use some wishes — cooler temperatures, more rain, less rain, or maybe a government that actually does something.  I could go on, but I’ll leave that up to all of you.

What are you wishing for?

21 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Update 46: Mum’s The Word

  1. Lovely mums, mine are a bit behind yours with lots of buds but no flowers yet. I wish the weather we have now will stay for a long time, it was 23 degrees today (73 F).

  2. Gotta say I didn’t expect the menopause comparison… threw me off enough to be grateful I wasn’t drinking at the moment. For as much as I dislike fall I’d rather not have everything baking in the sun. I think I’m ready for a cool down and I bet the mums would like it too.

    • I must admit that as much as I enjoy summer heat, there’s a lot to say about a cool down. The plants need a break — and I think a lot of gardeners need one, as well. It’s the really cold weather of winter that hurts me. I’m ready for a three-season year. Just sayin’. 🙂

  3. I’ve been wanting to plant some milkweed, so it’s interesting to see your photo. I know there are many varieties, so i’ll be curious to see if you attract anything interesting to it. I think I’m not pinching my mums back enough. I only do it once, and they bloom a little too early. We’re still in “summer” around here, too, and I’m finally getting tired of it and ready to move on. Have you grown any mums from seed? I’d be curious to try that.

    This afternoon I finally had a little quiet time to spend looking at the new book on Victorian Gardens, Kevin. It’s a lovely book with so much history! Thank you. I will be sharing about it soon. Have a good week…cooler, perhaps!

    • Hey Debra. Not sure if the plant is milkweed or a cousin in the same family. It just looks very cool — a nice surprise. I’ve never grown mums from seed, but I think it would be worth it. Glad you’re enjoying the book! 🙂

  4. lovely pictures ! we still have lovely weather too, perhaps because Summer started late, the days are short, the mornings are cold and so are the evenngs but between it is just lovely !

    • Gwennie! The humidity was taking its toll around here, as well as the lack of rain. That seems to be changing as I type this. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. 🙂

      • we still have 2 nice days ahead of us, as of thursday temeratures will drop significantly and it will start to rain for days on end, I had hoped this ind of weather would hold till Christmas and after that Summer again !

  5. Knowing when to do enough, then leave a mum alone, is a lesson you’ve put to beautiful use, Kevin. Similarly, you’ve demonstrated that, for many of us, “weeds” often are simply misplaced flowers.

  6. Hey Kevin,
    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a botanical species of mum that stayed in that tight bud form? You made the ubiquitous mum look like some engaging purple lollipops. Nice work, bro.

    • Hey Patrick. Many thanks. Your words mean a lot coming from you! I think it would be great to have those tightly packed buds. When I see mums for sale at this time of year, they look lively — but a little too much. I like seeing the green and the multitude of smaller buds. I always think of “Starry, Starry Night” — but I like your description of lollipops. 🙂 Be well!

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