Resilient Plants: Hardy Mums

November. From a weather perspective it’s pretty much my least favorite month. Sure, we might get a couple crisp fall days in the 50’s, but it’s typically gray, rainy, foggy or raw. Add to that, we lose an hours of evening light. One bright spot in this dreary month are the blooms of hardy chrysanthemums (botanically Dendanthrema species). Not the lumpy mums sold alongside pumpkins- pretty as they are, but true hardy chrysanthemums.  Long-lasting, late-blooming and impervious to the vagaries of November weather, their lanky foliage quietly graces the border until the shorter days spur them to bloom.

This bright pink beauty is ‘Cambodian Queen’ a tough, drought resistant daisy with a crisp white eye. In a month when we’re retreating to indoor projects, hardy mums are a bright spot in the garden. They make great cut flowers, bloom for 3-4 weeks, return faithfully every year and are pretty much pest and disease free. Make room for these in your garden, maybe paired with a native switch grass, for nice contrast in texture and a spot of late season interest in the garden.

PS- November is not without its charms. My middle daughter and my twin granddaughters celebrate birthdays in November…so I’d definitely keep it on the calendar!

Surviving the Dog Days

fullsizeoutput_2475Coming off of our recent run of hideously hot and humid weather, I’m just going to admit my garden looks awful. The weeds have won. A groundhog has binged on the coleus, zinnias and sweet potato vines in my garden. My basil is kaput. A brave blogger would take a picture of the depressing scene, but I’ll spare you. I’d rather post some prettiness. This little pave’ arrangement is contained within a funky little ceramic container that accurately mimics the matte finish of a common cardboard berry box. It features a pretty bi-color dahlia and two exceptional annuals for the cut flower garden. The pretty purple/blue puffs are Ageratum houstonianum ‘Blue Horizon’ and the hot pink at the top is Gomphrena globosa ‘Fireworks’. Both are terrific deer resistant plants that make awesome cut flowers.

It looks like the HHH weather has broken, and I’ll post some garden pictures soon. That means after I have several days when I can work outside without becoming cranky from the heat and pull the weeds that have overrun my garden!