Friday, September 23, 2011

Chrysanthemums at Milmont

A few weekends ago, my friend Eleanor and I went in search of Chrysanthemums.  Our road trip took us “over the mountain” to Milmont Greenhouses and Garden Center.

Milmont has been owned and operated by the Miller family since 1973.  And they are famous for their quality and selection of Chrysanthemums, which they grow in-house.  What might look like pot after pot of sheared Boxwoods are actually well-groomed Chrysanthemums… enjoying the sun and a hazy view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I’ve always loved that deeply lobed, almost feathery, blue-green foliage of so many Chrysanthemums.  The leaves are clustered like flowers themselves.
And then each plant is simply packed with buds that open to reveal a beautifully complex layering of florets.
There is incredible diversity in Chrysanthemum flower, plant shape, blossom color and hardiness, especially in mums bred for bouquets and exhibition.  (The National Chrysanthemum Society recognizes 13 different groups!)  At Milmont, they offer perennial “garden mums”, with daisy-, powder puff- or dahlia-like blooms, which most of us use for seasonal color.  But you can plant these mums directly in your garden beds, and they may perennialize.  Chrysanthemums like full sun or very little shade and rich, well-drained soil.  And they can handle the heat of Indian summer.  It was almost 100 degrees the day we visited.

Milmont sells Chrysanthemums in all sizes.  By now, the plants in these photos will be bursting with color… whites, yellows, dusky pinks, reds, burgundies, purples and magentas, even lavenders and mauves and of course, lots of different oranges, peaches and corals.  All your favorite colors for fall (and replacements in the wings).
Milmont also has a nice selection of perennials, some shrubs, pottery, fountains, garden supplies and over 30,000 square feet of greenhouses full of house plants and annuals.  Their hanging baskets are stunning.
Milmont Greenhouses and Garden Center is located in the Shenandoah Valley on U.S. Highway 340 between Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft.  It is easily accessible from Interstates 64 and 81 and is open Monday through Saturday.  Tomorrow is their annual Customer Appreciation Day with special sales, door prizes, refreshments and activities.  But actually, Milmont is worth the trip on any day and at any time of the year.  Check it out for yourself!

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