Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Granny’s Mums

My life in appalachia - Granny's Mums
Ask most folks what flower they associate with fall and they’ll say mums (chrysanthemums). By the end of August or first of September you can see them popping up in front of Walmart and scattered among the produce at fruit stands and grocery stores alike.

Mums come in amazing colors these days-from purple to rust orange and everything in between. When I was first married I was crazy about flowers, I still love them, but I focus my gardening efforts on veggies and fruits these days.

For the first few years I was married I planted a pot or 2 of mums every year. Sometimes they came back the following year sometimes they didn’t. Even the ones that did only lasted a few years before they completely disappeared from my flower beds.

Granny’s mums are the old fashioned variety. She has a yellow pom pom-you can see it in the picture above, and a white daisy type mum that has a yellow center. I’m positive someone gave Granny a start of the mums years ago. I know they’ve grown in her flower beds as long as I can remember.

The mums bloom like crazy year after year after year. Their only downfall is they grow so tall they fall over into the yard. But when you really think about it who can complain about walking on blooms for the last 30 years or so? Not me.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    November 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Mums are another favorite flower of mine. They don’t grow well here though. Too dry, I guess.
    If I could get them to grow well I definitely wouldn’t complain!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Your grandma’s chrysanthemums look gorgeous! Just perfect! We’ve got a lot in Cyprus – mostly yellow and purple.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Ours are mostly pink, purple and burgundy. I love those colors. Oddly enough, our mums bloomed in spring this year, died back in summer, then came back again in the fall. They were beautiful.
    We have never paid full price for any of them, choosing to wait until they are reduced at Lowe’s to go get them from the clearance bin. They’re a bit worn then, but come back beautifully the next season.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    November 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    We grew beautiful Mums while in Japan. Unfortunately they do not do well in Hawaii.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    How lovely that she has had those mums for 30 years! Now that is a hearty and beautiful gift from nature indeed.

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    November 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hey Tipper: Thanksgiving would not be so wonderful if it were not for the MUMS! My mama’s mums are the same as your grandma’s! I have several bunches in my rabbit garden, my mother and child garden, my NEW YORK garden, and my BIG ROCK garden. The other day two beautiful children came with their mom to visit my ‘backyard’ and their comments were “Oh what beautiful flowers” –
    which of course were the mums which FALL DOWN!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I used to get potted mums for decorating the porch. About seven years ago I figured I’d try planting them instead of throwing them out. They have thrived so far, giving me a lovely bed of multi-colored pom-poms from early September till the first frost. They can be pinched or cut back by about 1/3 every summer before the 4th of July; they still bloom profusely but don’t get tall enough to flop over. I imagine the date would have to be adjusted to your growing season, as it’s much colder here than where you live – mine have already been frost-bitten and cut down for the winter. Lovely to see Miss Cindy’s still in bloom!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I’m not into flowers, except maybe
    sunflowers in the garden. Its a
    grandkid thing, they like to see
    what their little seeds have turned into. But I do appreciate
    seeing flowers like mums and all
    those yellow and red colors our
    State plants along our 4-lane.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    True — the ones bought in the fall, blooming in pots, hardly ever make it. I have mums, that were on this place when we moved to it in 1968, still blooming every year. Old timers are the greatest!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I don’t have any Mums. But come fall, I wish I had them.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    November 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Color me among the mum-less.
    Although they do add color at a relatively colorless time of year, I’ve always seen them as part of the dead, like a ficus or rubber trees, or other plants that live when and where they should not (okay, being a little judgmental here).
    They purportedly serve a purpose in the vegetable garden, as an insect repellent, which pretty much goes hand in hand with my view of them.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I like the way mums smell! My mom has a mum that is a kind of pinkish orangish color, I think it’s my favorite…..but there are so many good ones!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

    We must 5 or 6 pots of wife insist that I try to save them through the winter in the pots (in the basement). I have on potted mum that is now on its 3rd season, but it has really thinned out. They are very pretty..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Tipper, I think Don is a very fortunate man. If Susan weren’t such a sweet woman she would knock a knot on his head and pitch him off one of those mountains she so laboriously hikes with him! Spunky Shinwhacker indeed.
    These mums are another perfect example why so many of us cling to the old ways and old things. They are substantial, like those mums they last from generation to generation.
    So much of things today just don’t hold up. That includes clothing, appliances, furniture, plants from seed and marriages. LOL!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I love to watch my small patch of mums return each fall. This year, however, some of the stores had scarlet mums. They were simply beautiful. I had to have one, so one has been planted. I hope to see them again next year. I just enjoy watching Mother Nature!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I love mums too. Didn’t realize they come back year after year until we moved here. Usually get a couple of pots for my front door steps in the fall — this year they are bright yellow! A friend recently told me you can make tea from dried chrysanthemum flowers and buds ( I think only white or yellow ones).

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    November 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I like mums, too. My favorite are yellow. I had one grow back for a few years in a row and it got so big, it was beautiful. But it finally disappeared and never came back. I have a pretty one in a large pot on my front porch, I think I will put it in the garage this winter and maybe it will survive and come back next year.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 18, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I really love mum’s, the first thing after bulbs I planted in my NC garden.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 18, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I love mums but have had very limited success in getting them to come back year to year. The ones I bought in September have already been killed off by frost. I guess it’s time to make bunches of evergreen boughs and pinecones. Those will last!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    November 18, 2011 at 7:24 am

    My front yard is blessed with a big golden yellow circle of the pom-pom variety… the ‘start’ came from Granny’s yard, her’s from an old ‘house place’ somewhere in the neighborhood over 50 years ago.
    Yes it lays over from the weigh, sometimes one of the hens decides it’s a good spot to lay an egg. I imagine the original plant and all its off spring have brought a lot of joy. I know it does to me.
    Thanks for this nice post.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

    You are so right about the new hybrid mums…They seem not to last as many years as the older varieties, if at all…I love mums and my Grandmother had some pretty ones that came back every year, knowing exactly when they were supposed to bloom…Once in a great while she would pinch a few back to encourage more blooms and to keep them more of a short rounder shape…but most times she just let them grow and fall over…In the Spring I remember those old timey Pinys..(peonies)
    loaded with white blooms laying down all over, if she didn’t get the sticks in the ground with the brown string tied around them…
    Thanks for the memories,

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 18, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Back in late October, Spunky Shinwhacker and I visited an old home site near Jenny Branch on the north shore of Fontana (in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park).
    This place had been owned by William Bryson Cole. He was:
    – born in 1845, served in the Civil War,
    – outlived his first wife, Emeline, who had borne 8 children by him,
    – at the age of 66, married his second wife, Texas, 47 years his junior and also younger than his youngest child; Texas bore him another five children, the last when William Bryson was a sprightly 83 years young
    William Bryson died in 1934, perhaps thankfully never knowing that in less than ten years, a branch of the same federal government (Tennessee Valley Authority) he had resisted during the Civil War would take his entire home place for Fontana Dam, albeit flooding but a tiny fraction of the land.
    While we were roaming the site, enjoying the beauty of the place while also documenting evidences of its former habitation, Spunky noticed a chrysanthemum in bud stage standing in the yard beside where the house had once stood (the government burned all the homes at the time of taking).
    While we regularly find boxwoods and yellowbells, what Spunky calls a beauty berry, yucca, and several other non-natives around old home sites, this was the first time that either of us had seen a mum.
    For well over 70 years now – and perhaps for more than a century – that mum has been a faithful living testimony to William Bryson, Emeline, Texas, and others who once called this place their home.

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