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Once again, mum's the word

Mum time already? My annual outing for fall mums is quickly approaching. Once I get them home, I’ve tried to get a little more creative in recent years, rather than just plopping them on the front porch and remembering to water them when necessary.

Placing them in clay pots, around which I tie a bunch of raffia for a rustic touch, has always worked for me. So has placing them in an old copper-colored oval tub we inherited and displaying it near the garage.

I also have tucked a few of them in a large rectangular wrought iron plant stand at the sunny end of our open porch, after removing spent summer flowers but keeping any green fillers with healthy foliage. I like seeing these mums displayed off the ground for a change. Tuck in a few mini pumpkins and, instantly, it feels like fall.

But I know there is much more I could do to make the most of mums as fall decorations.

Mind you, I’m not one of the gardeners out there who planted mums in the spring (or early in September) – closely following instructions regarding site, soil, care, etc.

No, I’m the type who spots potted mums at the garden center or supermarket and is reminded that it’s time to buy some mums to decorate the porch, add a touch of fall to the mailbox post or to keep the pumpkins by the front door company.

So with that I share some decorating ideas that I have seen, tried, read about or been told:

• Plant a fall mixed container – or buy one that is already planted at a garden center or nursery. Ornamental grasses, kale, huchera, sedum and other plants your garden center has for fall containers are all possibilities. Just ask about them.

• Pay attention to color. Pots of mums in the same color make a strong statement lined up on the edges of porch steps or on deep windowsills. So does a cluster of potted mums in a selection of warm colors. Or try a combination of cooler colors. Stunning, too, is a grouping of white mums and white pumpkins. So many possibilities.

• Mums and galvanized buckets, tubs and planters go hand-in-hand.

• After repotting or simply placing mums in a larger container, you can finish it off by placing small gourds or moss on the surface to hide the stems and fill in unsightly gaps.

• Snip a few mums and float them in water in a glass bowl as a fall centerpiece for your next gathering – or just to be enjoyed by the family.

• And this, straight from a magazine or Pinterest: Pile pots of mums, pumpkins, a scarecrow and other fall accents in a rustic wheelbarrow or wagon.

Love mums? Mark this down: The annual Mums exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is scheduled for Oct. 14-Nov. 5. It’s the place to go to check out many different varieties and creative displays (more ideas!). Garden admission gets you in ($11 adults; $10 seniors age 62 and older and students 13 and older with I.D.; $6 kids 3 to 13).

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