We are all born with at least one mother, but many of us pick up another along the way through marriage. If you’ve been lucky enough to score a good one, celebrate on Sunday, October 26th during Mother-in-Law Day with a bouquet of chrysanthemums. These fall flowers are at their prime this time of year and come in a wide array of colors, shapes and sizes. Whether she thinks you hung the moon or is the type to complain that you hung it crookedly, flowers as elegant and diverse as the mum are sure to please anyone- even someone that can be a bit hard to please at times.
Native to Asia, the chrysanthemum has a long history of cultivation in both China and Japan, where there are several festivals in which it plays a big part. Found in art, sculpture, literature and even printed onto coins throughout the ancient Orient, the mum slowly made its way west and into tombs of kings and emperors and onto the lapels of gentleman. Today, the mum is most heavily cultivated in parts of Central and South America, where they are grown in a dazzling array of colors and sizes for fresh cut flowers. From festivals in Colombia where chrysanthemums line the streets and color the elaborate floats in parades to hillside greenhouses in Guatemala, where large bouquets are carried by hand to the markets, this flower fills the world with color and class and has done so for hundreds of generations.
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When choosing mums, you have over 40 different species and hundreds of different varieties. Many have a traditional “daisy” look, with a center “eye” surrounded by petals. If your mom-in-law is a bit of a traditionalist, try the typical Marguerite daisy, which has white petals and a yellow center. If your spouse’s mom is a bit more eccentric, the long, frilly petals of the Fuji or spider mums are certainly going to catch her eye. The wide range of colors of the pom-pom mums make it possible to pick out her favorite hue. The best part of all- each stem rings up for less than a dollar, making it easy to fill a vase without emptying your wallet.
Perhaps your mother-in-law never thought your marriage would last, but a bouquet of mums will last for two weeks or more in a vase with fresh water. Surprise her with flowers and she’ll remember exactly why her kid married you in the first place.