Hardy garden mums are perfect for sunny mixed beds and borders. As an obsessed gardener and landscape designer in Cleveland, Ohio (USDA Hardiness Zones 5–6), I am constantly on the prowl for workhorse perennials, especially for the fall garden when flowers are hard to come by. That’s why I rely heavily on hardy mums to stretch the gardening season. They combine beautifully with ornamental grasses and other late-blooming perennials, such as monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii, Z 3–8), asters (Aster spp. and cvs., Z 4–8), and Japanese anemones (Anemone X hybrida and cvs., Z 4–8), that I have added to my gardening lineup. Perennial mums come in several shades, primarily pink, red, and white, but among their best qualities is their range in height. With selections that reach from 12 to more than 36 inches tall, it’s easy to single out the perfect player for the front, middle, and sometimes even the back of my planting schemes.
Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner