I’ve been talking a lot of unapologetic smack about Mums lately.
First I dogged them in a post last week. Then I went into a tirade against them to my poor neighbor friend LaNeia, who was just looking for some hardy fall color to brighten the roadside around her Dolores Thibault-Munoz campaign sign. (She was like, what’s wrong with Mums? Where do I start?!) Then I talked crap about them at my favorite local nursery over the weekend, where I went in search of a non-Mum color fix for my front beds, which are looking ROUGH. (My regular plant seller secretly agrees!) And finally, when my pal and city council candidate Dolores suggested them, I launched into another passionate rant.
I am pretty sure I sound totally crazy.
I apologize to anyone who’s had to listen to me on this ridiculous and trite topic lately. But I get worked up about about it. I just really hate Mums. And at this time of year, they’re everywhere — annoying me in median beds, flower pots, on the grocery store floral tables, on everyone’s steps… in front of Dunkin’ Donuts for Chrissikes! Their oppressive orange and yellow*, compact, bushy Mummi-ness is everywhere. Often paired with gourds. (Which are just fine, I might add.)
Some possible explanations for my hate: Mums are common. Boring. Old lady-ish (like Phlox, some say… though I personally have no strong feeling on Phlox). They smell funky.
That’s all I can come up with. This is an irrational hatred. But I suspect everyone — or at least people who harbor opinions on such things — have them about some plant or another. Esthetics are a curious thing. No right or wrong, just what makes us swoon or our toes curl. Except when it comes to Mums. They’re just wrong.
At least I’m not alone.
Here’s one of my favorite bloggers, An Obsessive Neurotic Gardener, on the sad departure of summer and inevitable arrival of fall: “Oh well, what can you do, such is life. Now we can enjoy the aster blooms, be inundated with mums in containers everywhere (just threw up in my mouth) and pick apples. ”
He didn’t elaborate, so I’m not sure where his intense distaste stems from. Probably a dark, irrational place, like my own. But throwing up in your mouth is extreme. I haven’t experienced that yet, thankfully.
I have only met one Mum I truly liked. A light blue Spider Mum that I bought as part of a bouquet of flowers at a grocery store in Mukilteo, Wash., a looooong time ago. It was spiky and alien-looking and freaky and cool. I don’t think I have seen a Spider Mum since, sadly.
I wonder if they’re hardy? Maybe I should pursue Spider Mums next year? Give the finger to fall color and go cool blue…
*I will admit to considering a few sherbert-toned and ruby red Mum varieties last week; they were calling to me from a nursery I drive by every day. I liked the colors. But ultimately, they were still Mums. So I walked away, prejudices intact.