Actually, when I was a kid I thought they were summer flowers. Though I knew the little rule: pinch them back till the 4th of July. I think it could go back to my young childhood when we brought Mums to my moms sister for Mother's Day. I remember the pink/purple flowers (it was one of my favorite colors at the time) and it was May, so I associated them with summer for many years.
The other day my mom brought me two orange Mums in glowing full bloom. They are like balls if smoldering coals. I removed the tomato plants from the back porch and promptly planted the Mums.
They create a nice visual break in the side of the porch and a bridge between the porch and the steps. (I was an art major, very helpful in the plant arrangement aspect of gardening and knowledgeable gibberish) I guess these exploding plants came with a few potato beetles. I forgot what they look like until I saw one. They are little yellowish beetles with little black polka-dots randomly sprinkled on their shell. My mom also brought over her Diatomaceous Earth. The simple explanation for what the stuff is: a powder that is so fine (consisting of fossilized diatoms, hard shelled alge) that it gets in the joints of bugs (beetles, ants, bedbugs, and other hard shelled critters of the sort, but does nothing to earth worms) and hinders their movement. Check out Wikipedia for more info on DE.
Back to Mums.
I did not realize how delicate these plants are. They look like nice sturdy plants just covered in blossoms. The reality is that they are fragile. I accidentally lost almost a third of one of the plants before realizing this.
In the living room:
And in the Kitchen:
I was surprised how spicy this plant smells! As I was trimming little flowers from the broken stalk there was a strong spice smell. It was vaguely familiar, but I could not quite place it.
I have never been crazy about Mums. I never saw myself going out and buying Mums. Oddly, now having spent time with them today, I have decided I rather like Mums. When they are planted nicely they add a nice dimension to the fall colors.