Mother's Day is coming up which means it's chrysanthemum, or 'mum time, and they are blooming across the region, right on cue!
The tradition of giving special gifts to our mothers every second Sunday in May began in Australia in 1924.
Sydney woman Janet Heyden started the tradition after World War I when she became concerned for the lonely, forgotten elderly mothers who had lost sons or were no longer mothers, at a local hospital and started a campaign to collect gifts for them.
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Potted chrysanthemums are one of the most popular gifts for Mother's Day. They are easy to look after and will keep flowering for a few weeks.
Put your potted chrysanthemum in a position where it gets plenty of light. Remove flowers that have died and leaves that have turned yellow. Only water when the soil becomes dry and your plant will last indoors for several weeks.
Once flowering has finished, your chrysanthemum plant can be planted out into the garden. Choose a sunny, well-drained position and cut the stems back to about 15cm in height. Apply liquid fertiliser every four to six weeks to help the plant maintain strong growth.
Plants that have been specially grown in pots will have been treated with chemicals to maintain a dwarf plant structure. They may have also induced lots and lots of flowers, which will reduce over time. Once the plants have been planted into garden soil, they will eventually return to a normal plant size and flower as normal.
If your Mum doesn't fancy Chrysanthemums, or already has enough growing, consider potting up a container of her favourite flowers. If she doesn't have enough space for a big pot or container, think about making her a teacup planter instead, using an old, fancy china cup and saucer.
The best type of plant to use are succulents that don't need much water. Just put some small stones in the bottom of the cup, or you could drill drainage holes in your teacups.
The Armidale Garden Club's next meeting is on Thursday, May 27 at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall at 7pm. Come about 15 minutes early to participate in choosing favourite exhibits from the flowers and vegies on the display table. Everyone is welcome!