More Mum Madness

Mum mountain at Ott’s Exotic Plants

I’ve stayed out of the great mum debate to this point, and I still don’t intend to commit myself one way or the other. But whether you’re pro-mum or anti-mum, you still have to be stunned by the annual fall display at Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. This mountain-o-mums draws visitors from far and wide, and little wonder! And it’s not simply a pile of soil with plants stuck into it: There’s actually a tunnel so you can walk through it, as well as a winding path so you can climb up and over—a truly interactive mum experience. Really, words can’t express the sheer extent of the spectacle, so here are more photos…

Tunnel through Ott’s mum mountain 

Mum among the mums at Ott’s

View from the top of Ott’s mum mountain

Mini mum tower at Ott’sNow, don’t be thinking this is a once-a-year event: In spring, the entire mountain is covered with an equally colorful patchwork of pansies. If you live anywhere in this area, it’s really worth the trip to see Ott’s at least once. It’s more than just the mountain, after all; you can easily spend a few hours strolling through the conservatory and greenhouses. And whether you’re into orchids, tropicals, annuals, herbs, or hardy plants, you’re sure to bring at least a few new plants home with you! Sadly, they don’t have a web site, but you can find their contact information here.

About Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.

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10 Responses to More Mum Madness

  1. Benjamin October 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm #

    Oh–my–lord. I don’t care how nice a place it might be and what exciting plants they have or what nice people they may be, this is DISGUSTING. Granted, I’m not a mum person–they can be done tastefully in moderation, severe moderation–but this is like making art out of a garbage heap (IS IT a garbage heap anyway?). More doesn’t make it any neater. Really gets to me. I’m done now. Thanks for the post, though: I got to try out my new sunglasses.

  2. Nancy J. Ondra October 23, 2007 at 5:24 pm #

    Oh, now, Benjamin–you really have to give them credit for the spectacle, if nothing else. Maybe I’ve seen it for so long that I’m inured to the full impact; mostly, I’m focused on shopping and not on the outside stuff. But I must admit that when I see it this time of year, the sheer flamboyance of the thing makes me chuckle.

  3. Benjamin October 23, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    Ok. Credit for the spectacle, and because it might make people come in and shop and plant flowers of their own (hopefully not mums).

  4. John October 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm #

    To each his own. I find the Ott’s display fun and cheerful, although I might prefer to see large masses of each color.

    I like the ubiquitous mums, although I generally don’t plant them much in my garden because I see enough elsewhere. However, for beautiful and inspiring uses of all sorts of chrysanthemums, it’s worth visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA in November for their Chrysanthemum Festival.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow October 23, 2007 at 10:33 pm #

    Looks like fun to me. Good pictures of the spectacle. I would like to see the pansies too.
    Is the mountain a big blob of soil in between times?

  6. fran sorin October 24, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    nan-

    you just might have outdone yourself on this one. i remember when i went plant shopping with you how you told me about this chrysanthemum festival.what can i say except that it is like nothing i have ever seen. in israel, where i am visiting this week, i believe chrysanthemum is not part of their botanical lexicon!! fran

  7. Pam/Digging October 24, 2007 at 9:32 am #

    Holy smokes! That’s an amazing pile of mums. I’d go see it, but would it inspire me to buy a mum? Hmmm. Just the opposite, I suspect.

    Now, if it were salvias . . .

  8. Nancy J. Ondra October 24, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    John–good call to suggest the Longwood display. But there’s just something about this outdoor, context-less planting that makes it a sight unto itself.

    Good question, Lisa. I can’t answer, because I’m normally so focused on getting inside to shop that I don’t think to look. I believe they leave the pansies in place until some point in the summer, then remove them to set out the mums.

    I suspect, Pam, that you’d be able to resist the urge to create your own mini-mum mountain. But maybe it’s not worth the risk!

    Fran–I wish you’d have been here to see it in person. We’ll have to do a follow-up visit next spring to capture the big-pile-o-pansies.

    Nan

  9. Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 24, 2007 at 2:01 pm #

    Okay, that represents everything I hate about mums: mixed colors, lumpy stiff shaped, blobs. From a distance it looks like something my great-aunt knitted from whatever yarn scraps she had lying around. Oh, the humanity! (Thanks for posting it; I find the truly absurd amusing.)

  10. Bernadette Zang September 26, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    I CAN’T BELIEVE ALL THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS REGARDING OTT’S. FROM THE PICTURES THEY LOOK ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. I AM PLANNING TO GO THERE IN OCTOBER AND WISH I WAS GOING TOMORROW. I LOVE ALL KIND OF FLOWERS AND MUMS ARE ON MY FAVORITES BECAUSE OF ALL THE DIFFERENT COLORS. I HAVE SOME PLANTED IN MY YARD AND THEY COME UP BEAUTIFUL EVERY YEAR.

    You’ll have an unforgettable experience at Ott’s, Bernadette. Enjoy!
    -Nan