Chrysanthemums are to the fall what tulips are to the spring. Florists have long relied on chrysanthemums because of their long life span of up to two weeks. Fall gardeners enjoy the vitality of the fresh flowers in the yard, while decorators enjoy the flowers’ versatility in the home. With their many colors, and various forms, mums have provided happiness for thousands of years.
There are a wide variety of mums. Some classifications include spider mums (flower petals long and tubular, with hooked ends), football mums (fancy mums with incurving petals), and pompon mums (small, stiff, almost globular flowers). Flower colors include white, yellow, orange, bronze, red, purple and pink.
Perennial chrysanthemums are native to the Orient and Russia. Annual forms are native to the Mediterranean. The first known cultivation of chrysanthemums was in the 15th century B. C.in China. Chinese herbalists boiled the flower roots as a headache remedy, ate the flowers in salads, and brewed flower leaves to make a festive tea. The dew found on the flowers was collected to promote longevity. In the 8th century A. D. , the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan where the locals adopted a single flower as the crest and official seal of the Emperor. The Japanese even have a National Chrysanthemum Day, known as the Festival of Happiness. In 1753, Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus introduced the flowers into the Western world, combining the Greek words “chrysos" meaning gold and “anthemon" meaning flower, to name this flower “chrysanthemum”. The first commercial production of mums began in the late 1940's as florists began utilizing the flowers in corsages. Mums can be very easy to work with, and fall pumpkins make fun accessories for mums. The easiest thing to do is to create an arrangement of fresh flowers, place them in a jar of water, and place this jar inside the pumpkin. A pumpkin can also be used as a vase. After it’s hollowed out, use flower arranging foam to hold leaves, mums, and filler flowers. Golden-yellow and red-bronze mums are a striking combination.
An easy fresh flower arrangement is to arrange mums in a shallow bowl. Cut the stems of your flowers to touch the bottom of the bowl while the flowers just reach the top of the bowl. Place light color flowers across the center of bowl and arrange the dark color flowers on either side of the light ones.
A hand-tied spiral bouquet with raffia is a simple but beautiful design. Gather three to five stems of mums in your hand. Begin the spiral placement by placing additional flower stems at a 45-degree angle against the rest of the bouquet. After three to five stems have been added in this fashion, twist the bouquet in your hand and add additional flowers using the same method. Bind the flowers by wrapping raffia several times around the flower stems at the point you held the flowers.
You can also send flowers to someone you care about. Online florist Beyond Blossoms (http://www.beyondblossoms.com) offers hand tied mum bouquets including one called Wild Harvest consisting of red rover mums, football mums, daisies, safari sunset, and curly willow. Today, with their beauty, durability and variety of colors, mums are highly favored by consumers and florists alike.
Josh Grossman is cofounder of online florist, Beyond Blossoms (http://www.beyondblossoms.com ). The company's mission is to send fresh flowers such as roses and lilies, with great designs, at low prices.