Here in Pennsylvania we have had our first frost and summer flowers are faded. I am celebrating the cool November days with a big bucket of chrysanthemums and a day of flower arranging with two of my very talented “flower friends.” The flowers posed for their picture on a gorgeous sunny day but our arranging day was a terrible rainy day so we worked in our garage for social distancing with jackets on.

When asked, “What is your favorite flower? You rarely hear, “chrysanthemum.” It’s hard to compete with the first narcissus of the season, the glorious array of spring and summer perennials and annuals, and finally our fall splurge of dahlias, but chrysanthemums get the fall spotlight. A visit to Longwood gardens in autumn is the ultimate chrysanthemum experience with exotic varieties of blossoms, inspiring topiaries, and the amazing thousand bloom mum.

Longwood Gardens created amazing chrysanthemum displays every fall. Don’t miss it.

Chrysanthemums or “mums” are native to China and first used in salads and herbs. Both China and Japan use it to symbolize royalty. It arrived in Europe in the 17th century and over the years hybridization has developed a vast array of blossoms.
For the floral designer new varieties are arriving on the scene all the time and the lasting quality of mums is excellent. Let’s look at some ways these diverse blooms may be used in designs.

Roseann created a vegetative design in a basket with chicken wire and branches for flower support. The mums are disbud mums ‘Four Ladies’ and ‘Red Morgan” and spider mum ‘Golden Anas’ and the small mum multi-stemmed flower is a bronze cushion pom-pon mum.

The beautiful white spider mum that inspired Roseann, compliments the white vase and combines beautifully with orange roses and orange ilex verticillata berries. Orange and yellow is a favorite combination for me.

A decorative design in a purple Art Nouveau vase with folded aspidistra leaves and plumosus emphasized foliage folds with the golden centered “Magenta”purple spider mum. The yellow in the solidago pairs with the yellow centers of the mums. Folded aspidistra captures the twists and curves of the Art Nouveau era.

Chrysanthemums are the perfect focal flower for line arrangements. On the left three flower move upward with different spacing between them creating an upward rhythm. On the right two flowers are “shadowed” to create focal emphasis.

“Shadowing” is placing one flower in front of another of the same variety to create emphasis and depth.

Valerie took the challenge of creating a vertical flower column which holds the variegated disbud ‘Rossano Charlotte’ and disball ‘Green Bombellini.’ Disball is a new variety with a rounded form. Pink tulip anthurium and some ivory roses bring out the pink and green colors of the multicolored mum. The brown zebra grass ties in to the burnished gold vase.

The same wire column technique is used horizontally and wrapped with green hyacinth wire and lily grass. Flowers are place through the structure into the vase water and also tubes are placed into the structure. Chrysanthemum’s straight stems are perfect for placing vertically in tubes.

Here a structure woven from gold 12g aluminum wire is placed in a narrow neck vase and tubes are inserted into the braided openings of the structure. Another ‘Neotropica’ mix of tropical and temperate flowers and the glossy anthurium leaf contrasts with feathery jasmine vine.

Thanks to my friends for a very fun chrysanthemum workday. I hope you can find some time to play a bit with these versatile flowers, too.