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Garden Talk

Apple Valley chrysanthemums

Horticultural Highlight: Mums

Michelle RawlinsI

In this series, the staff of Duke Gardens highlights plants you'll find within our 55-acre collection.This week horticulturist Michelle Rawlins features the fantastic mums she’s been growing this year, and the Festival of Fabulous Mums, which begins Nov. 3.

Botanical name: Chrysanthemum sp.
Common name: Mum
Family name: Asteraceae (Sunflower Family))
Plant type: Perennial
Location in Duke Gardens: Culberson Asiatic Arboretum


You may have noticed chrysanthemums appearing in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum over the past few weeks. They aren’t your usual garden mum – they are grown specially and disbudded to form large, beautiful blooms. Started from cuttings in March, they are trained all summer and placed out in the gardens when they come into full bloom in fall. They will be on display in the gardens through early December or until the first heavy frost.

The Festival of Fabulous Mums starts on Sunday and runs through Nov. 5, 2019. Enjoy dazzling displays of show chrysanthemums grown by the Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society. Learn more about gardening with mums, participate in arts and crafts activities and tours of mum displays in the Gardens. This is a free drop-in event suitable for all ages. University parking fees apply. Festival hours: 12-5 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday & Tuesday. Join our Facebook event page to see updates and photo previews, and to help spread the word.

Here are a few of my favorite cultivars this year:

Chrysanthemum ‘Apple Valley’ (pictured above) is one of the arboretum staff’s favorite new mums. It was grown in a natural form instead of disbudding to form single flowers.

‘Billy Bell’ (bottom right) is also new to us. Another member of the National Mum Society shared it with us, and it is a hit!  

You can find ‘Golden Gate’ (bottom left) at the main gate to the arboretum. It stands out as one of the first mums to bloom each season.

More Garden Talk highlights

Photos by Michelle Rawlins.