If you love blue flowers (and who doesn't?), one of the most popular must-have plants for your garden is hydrangea. These versatile shrubs produce giant ball-shape flowers that look stunning in the landscape surrounding your home, as specimen plants in your garden, and make gorgeous (and easy!) bouquets.See More
Here's how to use mums in your garden.
With so many colors and varieties, mums are both a blessing and a challenge. In this slide show, you'll see some of the best mums for your garden, and learn how expert garden designers make the best use of this versatile plant.
With its bright coral outside petals and slightly darker center, this spreading mum brings early color to the fall garden. Knowledgeable garden center staff can help you select mums that will bloom in early, middle, and late fall, maximizing the weeks of color in your garden.
This cheery yellow mum is another early bloomer, flowering in mid-September. Strong yellows can be a challenge in the summer garden, when so many other colors are present. In the fall garden, however, when light levels are lower, a mum like 'Sunny Robin' can brighten things up.
This unidentified mum is a good example of one of the more unusual mum forms: spoon. The name derives from the shape of the petals. Mums with distinctive forms deserve a spot in your garden where they can be enjoyed at close range, such as near an entry.
Because some mums are not reliably hardy, many gardeners treat all mums like annuals, planting new ones each spring or fall. If you'd prefer to hold over your mums, look for varieties that have been bred to snap back from bitterly cold winters. 'Autumn Red', shown here, was developed by the University of Minnesota and has withstood -30 degree F temperatures.
Most of the potted mums sold by florists are tender and will not survive winter. That doesn't mean that they can't be added to your garden for a season of color. The benefits of florist's mums, as this unidentified variety illustrates, are larger, more interesting flower forms and a range of interesting colors and color combinations.
Don't get hung up on a particular variety of mum. Breeders introduce hundreds of varieties each year, meaning that some older varieties have to fall by the wayside. 'Jasper' was widely available a couple of years back, but now may be hard to find. In most cases, with the aid of a good supplier, you can find mums that meet your needs.
Even if your garden plans or experience are modest, you owe it to yourself to plant some mums. One glance at these gorgeous, carefree workhorses is payment enough for the modest investment of your time and money.