Here in the time of mums, I appreciate these plants for more than their fall colors; chrysanthemums helped me salvage a design gone bad.
Ten years ago, I fell in love with woolly thyme and planted many plugs in a sizable swath close to the front of the house, a space roughly 8 by 20 feet. Over time the little thyme plants grew together and made a beautiful groundcover, one that encouraged many of us to walk barefoot in it, enjoying its fragrance and feel.
As soon as it was just right, it did what woolly thyme does: Despite my careful planting in fast-draining soil, it began to die in patches, as it suffered from too much moisture during some of our many hyper-rainy seasons.
Not willing to abandon this open area that’s free of shrubs or trees (I grow no grass), I began mixing in ‘Elfin’ thyme, which tolerates more moisture. But the woolly was dying fast enough that I needed to cover more ground faster.
|Sedum, with 'Elfin' thyme|
That’s where chrysanthemums came in. Each autumn, I had began adding a few mums, some of which returned the next year. Next came aster, the hardy New England favorite that I began adding two years ago. Last year, the patch got yet another groundcover – sedum, like hens and chicks, below.
|Chrysanthemum, with woolly thyme|