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As the days grow shorter and the nights turn chilly, the tender flowers of summer tend to fade and go dormant- not so, the hardy chrysanthemum. As summer turns to fall, these short-day loving plants begin to awaken and bloom as the winds begin to sharpen and the frosts start to enclose both buds and branches. What better harbinger of health than the chrysanthemum, symbolic of long life, optimism and mirth in the language of flowers. A pot of mums to plant in the garden or a vase of these bright and cheerful flowers on the bedside are the perfect way to help someone be once again hearty and hale.
Mums are a perennial favorite for fall and can often be found as potted plants at florists, garden centers and grocers from August to October. Sold in every size from small containers that are only 3 inches to several gallons, mums are an excellent buy this time of year. The simple plastic containers they are sold in back be easily converted into a stunning gift with a little gold foil or a well placed bow and card holder. Count on spending only a couple of dollars for a beautiful, blooming plant that can grow for a month or more inside. Best of all, when folks are feeling better, these can be planted outside where they will come back each year.
Mums are a member of the sunflower family and come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Cultivated for perhaps thousands of years, this flower has quite a diversity of forms and can be grown as both a landscape or potted plant as well as a stunning cut flower. For a vase arrangement, consider the pomp and circumstance of the larger Fuji, football or spider mums. With long stems and large, ornate blooms that last for weeks, these are the perfect pick for a bedside flower arrangement. Consider mixing them with red or green hypericum berries or a bit of soft alstroemeria for a lovely look that will last. For bringing a bit of the outside in, nothing beats the hardy mums that come in colors that mirror fall foliage. They are the perfect gift for someone who may not be well enough to enjoy the alluring autumn colors on their own outside, but will help encourage them to get well soon so as not to miss this stunning season.