Spotted at a garden center today. 


And no, I am not ready. Trying to forget I saw these.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Lol! I’m with you!

    Mums are to gardeners what “Back-to-school” sales are to kids…! And I haven’t even picked a tomato yet!! (Seattle)

  2. At my local nursery ( an old-school one that actually grows plants) I saw what looked like poinsettias starting in a back area of the greenhouse, all roped off. I guess they are a necessary commodity, but they should shield our eyes, especially in Minnesota!

  3. I hear you!
    BBQs and lawn furniture on clearance…back to school supplies moved in. It’s just too depressing. Especially since summer hasn’t even made it to Oregon yet!

  4. Not to mention how ugly they are. They look so alien. I swear they aren’t really living things. My neighbor dutifully buys a bunch every fall (yes, it IS depressing to see them show up in the mid-summer) and she then throws them out (in the trash!!) before winter. I can’t bear to see her do this so I usually say “I’ll take them.” I try to make the poor things survive the winter and then come back in the spring, but it never works. Chrysanthemums are perennial, I believe, so in theory some of them should come back….right?

  5. Pam J. What you think of as “daisies” are in fact Chrysanthemums. Most of the mums available outside at garden centers in the fall should be perennial. It’s just the ones offered in May and such that are usually not hardy, if I remember correctly.

  6. I know what you mean. I went outside yesterday evening and something about the smell of the air and the sounds of crickets said…summer is fleeting.

  7. I saw a similar display at a local greenhouse today.Did’nt care that there were Mums growing,I was too fascinated with the set-up.Drip irrigation,fine tuned,bringing the water usage down to 25% of what was used before.And they are grown locally.I thought it was great!
    Oh,yeah,Mums,fall is coming.

  8. I’m ready. The heat this year is killing me. Even Mother Nature has started to display the fall line up around here. Goldenrod in bloom with asters getting ready.

  9. Well, of course the mums are coming in! Where I live, the crepe myrtles began to bloom in June — usual bloom time for them here is August! I love chrysanthemums in the garden, where their graceful stems and evocative colours mean that the year is changing, that we are in the time of “mellow fruitfulness”, but those things they sell in the nurseries with their stiff wire-like stems and harsh colours are pretty close to artificial to me. Gack! They are AWFUL!

  10. Xris and all,

    I tried not to express that I really kind of hate mums–at least the common type that I am sure these are. And I am sure they had a field of them at Lockwoods. You should see their spraypainted poinsettias that come right after.

  11. Mums in pots less than 10″ are fading as a fall sale item. Instead huge baskets are the new thing. Summer only on third over and it seems so done

  12. Usually by this time in July, I start looking forward to Autumn. And Summer here in VA started really early this year. This heat and drought has about worn me out.

  13. I love mums. I love the stiff outlandish ones, the garish colored ones, the over-sized flowers, the out-of-season pots of mums for Easter, the fact that they last in cut bouquets for weeks. I love the leggy, floppy, brilliant yellow mums that flower in my front garden from Thanksgiving to New Years. I love the elegant garden daisy mums. The floral symbolism related to mums is ‘Long Life’, referring to the many petals corresponding to many years of life. All good.

  14. Now I’m afraid of going to a garden center. But it reminds me of the fabulous KIKU chrysanthemum exhibit I saw at the New York Botanical Garden last year. The Japanese gardener’s imagination knows no bounds when presented with a single plant.

  15. Boo hiss. There are so many beautiful plants that will bloom ’til frost. WHY WHY WHY do the people who run garden centers think only mums will do in the fall?

  16. Pushing the season might actually be a good thing with mums. My understanding is that they can be perennial in gardens but that we usually plant them too late to get established before the ground freezes. If we plant them now, they have a chance of surviving.

    Personally, I like mums. They say Midwestern fall, apple cider and football games. They look ridiculous right from the store but their second year in the round they loosen up and look great.

    (Nurseries spray mums with growth retardants and hormones to promote bloom, that’s why they look alien in a pot that first season.)

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