Although I have always bought chrysanthemums in the fall and put them out on the front stoop like everyone else, this year I decided I was tired of them.
I consulted a woman who gardens, someone I see on the commuter train. She said, “How about asters? How about kale?”
So that’s what I’m doing this year. I need a few more, though, because my neighbors’ chrysanthemums do look more substantial.
In coming down rather hard on chrysanthemums, I am reminded of the A.A. Milne poem about the dormouse. Do you remember?
The dormouse’s favorite thing was to lie in bed of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red). But a doctor and a team of experts decided the dormouse was sick, sleeping too much. The doctor prescribed chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
The self-effacing dormouse says wistfully, “I suppose all these people know better than I.” He lets them have their way and they tear up his beloved delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red) and plant chrysanthemums (yellow and white). The dormouse comes up with his own solution.
“The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
“And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
” ‘I’ll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!’ ”