Pick out some mums and create your own signature fall look.
Craft a chrysanthemum centerpiece, above right, by using a pumpkin as a base. Start with a bunch of fresh mums from your Hy-Vee florist and a small flat-bottomed pumpkin that sits upright. Drill small holes into the pumpkin. Determine spacing by slipping a mum bloom into the first hole. Allow a little or a lot of the pumpkin skin to show between blooms, as you prefer. This arrangement won’t last long; it’s best assembled the day of your gathering, while flowers are at their peak.
Fresh-cut mums shine in floral arrangements, especially when you select blossoms in classic fall shades of burnt orange, burgundy and bronze. The sizzle builds with pumpkin orange Asiatic lilies and the gold-orange bicolor petals of alstroemeria. Deep red hypericum berries add texture to the bouquet, while blooms of snow white roses and hydrangea quietly complement and cool the fiery hues. In a vase, cut chrysanthemums typically last 7 to 14 days. Enhance vaselife by using floral preservative, available from your Hy-Vee florist
Give your porch a budget-friendly facelift by wrapping pots of garden mums in burlap. Tie raffia bows to hold burlap in place. To craft an eye-pleasing scene, choose mums with blossoms in similar shades. Check all pots daily, and water when soil is dry to the touch. Small pots have less soil volume, so they’ll need watering frequently. Don’t allow soil to dry out completely; every time a garden mum wilts, it loses 3 to 5 days from its useful life.
Greet guests with garden mums gathered in a simple basket placed atop an entry table. Indoors, a potted mum can look good from 7 to 14 days or even longer. Indoor mums survive longest when you keep them out of direct sunlight but near a bright window, with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees during the day and 10 degrees cooler at night. Water before soil is fully dry to the touch. When flowers start to fade, replace them with fresh plants.
Roll out an old wagon, above, to showcase garden mums and other autumn icons, such as winter squash and gourds. Tuck pots of mums into a vintage copper tub for a look that stands up to fall weather. Be sure to set potted mums on saucers if your cachepot doesn’t have drainage holes.
Butternut squash makes a perfect vase, right, for fresh-cut flower bouquets featuring chrsyanthemums. Cut off the top of a squash and scoop out the insides. Slip a piece of presoaked floral foam into the cavity, and insert flower stems to create an arrangement. For a longer-lasting bouquet, slip a glass cylinder into the squash to hold the flower stems.
For a can’t-miss display, slip a trio of terra-cotta pots into a peeling-paint wooden box and perch it on a porch bench. Garden mums are perennials and may survive winter if tucked into planting beds. Get plants in the ground at least 6 weeks before the soil freezes. After the ground freezes, mulch plants with evergreen boughs, straw or bark. Wait until spring to remove faded flowers.
Up the Ladder
Breathe new life into a retired ladder and empty paint cans by pressing them into service as a handy holder for garden mums. Cover paint cans with an enamel shade that complements mum blooms. Don’t forget to prime the cans first with a metal primer. Spray-paints make quick work of covering cans. Hang cans from small nails hammered into ladder rungs. Check mums daily to determine watering needs, especially if your plant ladder will receive any direct sun.
Who says you can’t wear white after Labor Day? In fact, white mums make a stunning contrast against fall foliage. Simply hang a box to hold a garden gate bouquet.