Die, mums, die!

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…

YOU can stay

*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.


About plantkiller

Paysha Rhone is a wife, mother, former-journalist-turned-PR-maven and bad mamajama killing plants in the Victorian splendor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
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8 Responses to Mum-ified

  1. Nicole says:

    I’ve always assumed mums were the Hallmark cards equivalent of Secretary Day or other pimped-up non-holiday. Florist and garden center owners gotta eat too. Like you, I’m not buying.

  2. plantkiller says:

    THANK YOU! They are Hall-marky. And hateful! I bet there are some fonts you feel this way about too! 🙂

  3. Azure says:

    I like mums! But only because I have a childhood connection. When I was 6, my dad and sisters sent me some yellow mums (my fav color at the time) when I had eye surgery and had to stay in the hospital overnight with my mom. When we got home, my sisters and I planted them in the back yard and they came back every year. It was kinda cool – my contribution to the back yard, and they were always so sunny-looking.

  4. Autumn says:

    Don’t hate me, but Mums are PRACTICAL! If you are not a top-notch gardener, or simply have a tight budget, Mums are a good fall investment. They are colorful, last weeks and weeks, and won’t die if the outside temp suddenly drops into the 40s in October.
    That said, I dislike the yellow ones. Only care for red and dark orange!

  5. LaNeia says:

    I used to say that I hated the color ‘pink.’ Why? Because it is so overly used for little girl clothing and bedding and hair accessories. Its overused and over-rated. My little girl’s room is a warm tan with white trim. Her bedding has blue and camel flourishes. Her room says a cute little girl lives here, not SCREAMS a tiara-wearing princess wannabe is here.

    That said, I recently reminded my husband of my disdain for the color pink and he said “how can you hate a color? There are so many shades, they are used in so many different ways and depending on light and function”…blah blah – can you tell he’s a graphic artist?

    And so, I decided to embrace my inner-pink. Have you seen ALL of the new pink in my front bed? Pink roses, pink cone flowers, pink…whatever the heck those things are that look like what you have on your border bed. 😉

    And now, I’ve embraced my inner-pink mum-ness. And they are really cheering up the previously weedy sand mass that Dolores’ sign sits on. I don’t love mums, but like pink, I’ve decided not to hate them.

  6. plantkiller says:

    I can appreciate your perspective.
    I used to kind of hate pink too, but it actually is a good color for me (I hated to admit) so I bought a few pink shirts. It’s not horrible. That said, I can completely see why you want to avoid the little girl/tiara/pink thing… that can get out of control quick!
    I tried to get over mums. That’s why I stopped at the that nursery I drive by all the time. I kept seeing them from the side of the road, looking all robust and healthy and I thought, maybe if they were a really cool color… but no. I’m keepin’ hate alive, I guess!

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