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Mum is the Word

Nicole Eveleth

Posted on September 05 2018

  Cultivating a creative bouquet of flowers from your garden becomes trickier by the minute as the late summer days transform into autumn. Perennials represent a colorful contrast to the tumultuous tide of seasonal change, as they continue to stand stoic against a garden backdrop of yellows and browns depleted by an unexpected frost or chill. Chrysanthemums, or “mums” as they are more commonly known, are fall’s favorite flower. As such, we’ve paired them with fall’s favorite sport for a football-themed garden project fit for all fans.

            The name “chrysanthemum” is derived from Ancient Greek, with the prefix chrysos translating to “gold”, and anthemon translating to “flower.” The Greeks should have accounted for the mums’ expansive color palette, as “gold” is just the beginning. There’s yellow, white, orange, red,  and even various shades of pink and purple to bring a splash of life to a season of transition. And what better way to celebrate than with a homemade arrangement of colors in support of your favorite football team?

            Skip the spendy flags and spare your front porch the reputation of neighborhood eyesore, and instead adorn your home with two festive fall terra cotta pots. The pot size is up to the artist, but we recommend a medium-to-small size, not much bigger than a football. Remember, these are the accent pieces, not features. Begin by soaking the pots in a tub of warm water for 30-45 minutes. This primes the clay and removes any price tags or stickers and residue that might still be attached. Let them dry completely before painting. 

            Next, it’s time to break out the acrylics. Acrylic white paint is a must-have for the football shape and laces. If you feel like painting a base coat of acrylic brown, a medium-to-large foam brush is the way to go. However, this step is optional as the terra cotta has a faded Wilson-like hue of brown to match the color of most footballs. Once you’ve applied your base coat, let the pot dry completely. Once dry, paint on your laces. For the football die-hards, continue to color your pot with Gator Orange or Seminole Garnet, depending on where your allegiances lie. A fine-tip artist’s brush is ideal for capturing the minute details of the school logo or mascot, which adds a touch of flair to any football pot. 

            After the paint has dried completely, spray two coats of clear, water-based acrylic to seal the paint and to keep your art intact for seasons to come. Once the sealant has dried, it’s time to add your soil and mums, color-coordinated to your team of choice. Match a Gator Blue pot with orange mums, or simply add white mums to accent any finished piece and let your painted pot speak for itself.  

            Whether you’re preparing pots for Saturday/Sunday kickoffs, or you just want to add a little extra pop to your fall garden, chrysanthemums are the cure-all flower. After all, even the most veteran gardeners appreciate a consistent companion.