Perhaps the title suggested to you that this post was going to be about some neighbors in our area. In fact we did have people in the house across the street from us with the last name of Sheffey for a time. They have moved to Texas. No, today’s topic is the Chrysanthemum koreanum ‘Sheffield Pink’, aka ‘Hillside Pink Sheffield’. (Hardy in zones 4-9). The name has been changed from the mum moniker to Dendranthema morifolium, but I am in total denial of that change and refuse to call this class of plants anything but mums. Our little gulf fritillary agrees that these are now and always will be mums.Our plant was purchased from a local nursery the first year we began the garden, 2000. Knowing little about the difference in mums we asked the owner about the hardiness of her offerings. We had a spotty record of getting mums to return for a second year in our other Tennessee house and wondered what we were doing wrong. She told us that the varieties offered at this time of year that look like big mounds of cupcakes are not grown for hardiness but for bloom form and numbers. She went on to say that the truly hardy mums for us were the Korean mums, which are limited in color selections. There was a lavender and white daisy type flower and the apricot pink that we ended up bringing home. ~ Does that look like a honeybee? We are awash in this type of bee but thought the honeybees were on the decline.The new mums were planted on the slope behind the main house and flowered prolifically. Each year they spread to wider areas with their sweet rosettes of foliage. We began a regimen of adding pieces of this mum to every bed that seemed a little lackluster in the fall season. ~ Can you see the little striped legging wearing spider? I believe this is one of the babies from the great hatching that occurred on the zinnias not too long ago. Or not.The sheffies as we have come to call them with affection have been planted far and wide here. There is never a problem with lack of vigor or bloom in sun or shade or lack of rainfall. This patch is along the middle terrace backed by some salvia greggii. A teensy bit of muhly grass is trying to sneak into the shot. No Muhly, it is not your turn!Well maybe you can share the stage with the sheffies in this photo. This is the site of the original planting. The maniacal pruning of the Chinese Elm is done in part to allow the sheffies room to reach their blooming potential.This is the patch along the step stones by the long pyracantha border. The flowers flop onto the path, but we happily step over them in exchange for the burst of color they give us every October without fail.There are a couple of bits growing in front of the shrub border behind the sedum Matrona and among the many deciduous azaleas backed by the Chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mop’ hedge.There is a mass of them at the garage side trying to take over the blue star junipers. This is the spot to extract pieces to give to guests and family.In the most awful spot of soil in the garden, under the tall pines at the property edge in front, these have filled in nicely and brighten the dark area. The blue flowers in the photo are Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’. Also in the shot is the damaged trunk of the forest pansy redbud, still alive and looking better than ever even after a falling branch from the pines tore the little tree in half last winter. If you click on the picture you can see the wound is trying to heal.In researching the correct name of this plant it was learned that others growing it have seen changes in the siblings in the way of double flowers and color variations. We have one such circumstance of color changing, shown above. This flower, from the same mother plant is a much more yellow color. It is the only one with this mutation and we love its dusky glow.Here it is in situ backed by fothergilla beginning its color changing ways and a pink dogwood to the left laden with red berries. Front left is the metal pineapple sculpture that was a surprise birthday gift from The Financier while we lived in Texas. Let’s see if I can find that post to give you a link. Ah, here it is.
If you hate mums and the overkill of the big box stores and even quality nurseries that are flooded with pinched and turbo charged balls of color this time of year, please give the sheffies a try. There is no pinching, feeding or coddling necessary. The look is natural and the flower color blends so well with the changing leaf color of trees and shrubs of all sorts. Highly recommended by the Fairegarden. Added: for a really fantastic photo of the sheffies, see Christopher C. of Outside Clyde’s bloom day post here.