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The Dead Mum Dilemma | Letter from the Editor

Everyone loves a tight, compact mum. Fall chrysanthemums are often sprayed with hormone suppressants, which is why in the nursery they look like clipped little balls. Next year in the garden they will likely be larger and more gangly.

If you looked at my containers right now, you’d be embarrassed for me. Yes, alas, they are still filled with dead or dying mums. I’m fairly certain the FedEx man—who knows what I do for a living—shook his head in disgust while delivering a package to my door yesterday. I keep meaning to spruce them up, but I become paralyzed by what I should do. Surely it’s too early for holiday greens and branches of red berries. But it seems too late to simply stick a pumpkin in them and call it a “late fall look.”

Given this quandary, you can imagine my joy after reading Containers That Celebrate the Season. In this article, designer Barbara Libner offers up plans for the shoulder season—featuring plants and quirky accessories that will make your containers look great now and enable them to continue looking good into the New Year. The recipes include cold-tolerant perennials, striking dwarf conifers, and an assortment of nonliving elements like glass mulch, cholla stems, natural geodes, and sheet moss. In more than 13 years with Fine Gardening, I’ve never seen containers as unique as these.

I’m making plans to head to the nursery this upcoming weekend to collect some supplies for tackling those sad entry containers. And I may just have to hop online to order something—anything—to prove to my FedEx man that, yes, I really do work for a gardening magazine.

– Danielle Sherry, executive editor


See more idea to cheer up winter:

How to Make a Winter Solstice Wreath

Plants and Designs for Winter Interest

12 Ways to Create Winter Interest

How to Force Bulbs

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