Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – White And Yellow Octobers

My life in appalachia white and yellow octobers

For as long as I can remember, come fall of the year, Granny has white and yellow mums (chrysanthemums) growing in her yard.

Granny’s flowers aren’t the mums you see today. You know the ones that look like footstools, with each plant having so many blooms they run together in one big poofy circle.

Granny’s are old timey mums. They grow tall and leggy and before fall is over they fall down to sprawl in the grass from the weight of their blooms. It’s almost as if their cheery faces arrive to spit in the eye of cooler weather; but quickly give up the good fight and surrender to late fall’s cooler temperatures by falling prostrate on the faded grass of a dying summer.

According to the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore, once upon a time the flowers were called White and Yellow Octobers in North Carolina.


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

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  • Reply
    October 23, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Tipper we still have stock from Grandma ours are lilac colored we lost the white and yellow ones years ago have looked high and low for them but locally zero success .happy to know they still exist.enjoy your writing very much !

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

    That type of Mum reminds me of Dahlias.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    October 16, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Well Tipper those Mums that fall over from growing too ‘leggy’ are part of my display. But I also get those perfectly groomed mums. In fact last year I ‘ordered’ and paid big BUCKS for a fancy mum. IT DID NOT COME BACK THIS YEAR EVEN THOUGH IT WAS PLANTED UP CLOSE TO THE WARMTH OF THE over hang of our house. I WON’T DO THAT AGAIN! Those straggly mums are fine for the fall of leaves on them!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    October 16, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I not familiar with these. I’m going to keep my eye out for these old fashioned mums. Love old fashoned flowers and trees.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Ed – I didn’t see your comment from yesterday until this morning. I guess I’m like that quip Lou Costello made when he was talking about their home town newspaper “Todays’ news tomorrow”. I did check out that post you mentioned and enjoyed it very much. Actually, I forgot to mention it when you told me about it some time back. Loved that song.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 16, 2013 at 7:47 am

    My mommy used to grow those flowers like that and called them mums. Decades later a friend had greenhouse and grew mums in the fall. But they weren’t like the mums I member my Mommy grew. Granny’s mums are my mom’s mums too.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    October 16, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Tipper, You have waxed poetic today in your description of your Granny’s mums, “White and Yellow Octobers.”
    I can remember our own mums of the same type as your Granny’s. We always looked forward to their cherry blossoms during syrup-making time.
    Seeing them blooming so serenely somehow added an aura of peace to all the necessary hard work and activity of “sorghum-syrup making time.”
    Now so many varieties of mums bloom from early spring to late fall frosts take them out. Not that “breath of October beauty” we knew! Thanks for reminding us!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    October 16, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I am fairly sure the “Foot-stool Mums” of today are hybrids, I base this on one of my wife’s Mums bearing seed several years ago, these seeds resulted in plants about three feet tall with small flowers (quarter size) which were yellow with a maroon stripe midway up the petals. They were beautiful flowers but bore no resemblance to the parent Mums other than the leaves were similar. I feel they were of the Mum family which were hybridized with a “cousin” also of the Mum family.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 16, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Tipper, my Granny had flowers just like these beautiful white and yellow mums. There is something so sweet and brave about these flowers. They come forth every year knowing that they will loose the battle with cold weather but they come anyway for their brief stand.
    I was in Lowe’s yesterday and a woman was buying a whole cart full of those “footstool” mums. They are the epitome of excess, aren’t they!

  • Reply
    Dan McCarter
    October 16, 2013 at 7:20 am

    we have some of these and they are the only ones that look pretty in the fall

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I meant to say cheery faces! Actually I never suffered leg cramps from standing too long when we had spelling bees at school.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:01 am

    That’s the kind Momma had and she got them from Granny. Ours are white. I have saved them to plant myself. You are right they do seem to be defiant of cooler weather. Hate to see summer fade but those mums are always welcome (almost like daffodils in aspring). I think they have such a deep meaning for me. Your lines about “Their cherry faces” is so descriptive Tipper. I think you must be a poet!

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