I don’t use the word “hate” much. I am pretty sure that I can count on one hand the things that I hate. Right now I can only think of 2, in fact: ice–the kind that is caused by winter storms, not the kind that is made my home freezer; and chrysanthemums.
I used to blame my hatred of mums on working in retail gardening, but even as I thought about it, that didn’t really explain it. I would say that it came from the gazillion of hours that I was forced to spend deadheading the things so that they would always look good for customers.
But there are 3 types of seasonal flowers that we would get in, pansies, geraniums (pelargoniums) and mums, all of which needed deadheading to look good. And besides, as a general rule, I don’t mind deadheading.
But there’s this. Every year we get these for the office. And every year we get infested with aphids. This is the nymph stage.
As you may know, aphids don’t grow wings and leave the plants until there are so many that the plant is overwhelmed. So for them to actually be on the wall behind the plants, it’s pretty bad.
Needless to say, all the mums went into the dumpster and everything else in the office is under observation. We have a cyclamen in the same room that gets infested if you breathe on it the wrong way. It’s been there longer than I have and I have been there 12 years, so it is ancient, in plant years.
But just seeing the aphids on the mums–and remembering that this is exactly what happened last year–makes me realize where my true hatred of these plants comes from. It’s not the deadheading. It’s the constant insect issues.
Although I do happen to enjoy them, I ‘strongly dislike’ how we used to charge our clients so much many to plant the as short term annuals when there were so many less expensive and longer lasting ‘annuals’. (I have not worked for them for a LONG time, and did not last long with them either.)
I enjoy looking at them in other people’s gardens, don’t mistake the matter. But particularly for us, when we can have such short falls! If I were going to plant outdoors, I would at least plant asters so there would be something for wildlife and the first frost wouldn’t kill them.
Still I understand not everyone shares my taste. How boring would that be?
You’re not the only one: I intensely dislike mums also. The last time I had any autumn-flowering members of the Compositae was an aster called ‘October Sky’. It was supposedly a compact form but still needed too much maintenance for my taste. I bought it for the color (“blue”.) Come to think of it, I am not a fan of daisy flowers in general (the closest I come is Echinacea) for some reason.
I think I agree with that completely. I don’t even have any echinacea anymore–they have self-sown themselves into oblivion.
And I do like asters, but I don’t buy them. I just let the lovely little wild ones sow themselves where they want (of course, you don’t get the colors you might want that way, but at least you’re not worried about choosing form or height later).
As I have said here far more than once–nature is a MUCH better gardener than I will ever be!!