Mums the Word…

Don’t we all still have a back-to-school attitude this time of year?

New pencils, books, crayons……and those darn mums!

Tidy, roundy-moundy little gumdrops for the landscape or doorways, they shout autumn which is why I hate to see them pouring into the supermarkets and nurseries early in August.  I want to shout – not yet!!

As cut flowers they are hard to like, being stiff, uniformly branched and not in particularly pretty colors.  Their best characteristic (or not) is that they last forever!

Let’s remove those stiff branches and use only their bright faces to create a pattern in a plant saucer or other low shallow container.  In the interests of floriferous research, I counted 45 flower heads from bud to bloom in one ten stem bunch!

Any low container, soufflé dish, baking pan or outdoor pot saucer will work.

First fill with the ubiquitous Oasis. The slices of Oasis are about an inch deep.  You can fill the open places as I did on the east and west, or not, north and south.  For a design in your own home, this needn’t be secured to the container. Just be certain the container won’t leak

This design is all about color and texture, not flower form. Biedermeir is a design style which calls for formal round patterns of flowers which are put in side-by-side to create the patterns.  Notice how I angled the longer stems in so that the flower heads overlapped the open space where there was no Oasis.  I used a cup and a bowl to make the circle dents in the Oasis to guide me.

This technique is called pave – literally from paving stones, which the flower placement resembles.  I have put a spider mum in the center and allowed it to stand up a little taller than its cousins.

Rather than bring an apple, why not make one for the teacher!  This is in a large tuna can.  These could be made for bedside tables in nursing homes and hospitals.  Spread the fun!


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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