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learning to love another mum: ‘sheffield pink’

sheffield pink mumANOTHER MUM IS TRYING TO WOO ME. This time it’s someone a lot less brash than my longtime one-and-only, but despite the quieter demeanor, it’s starting to grow on me. What do you think of ladylike ‘Sheffield Pink’ (or just plain ‘Sheffield,’ as it’s also called)?

‘Sheffield Pink’ has 3-inch-wide, pastel-pink blooms in October here, lasting a month or longer, and though the catalogs all describe them as “apricot-pink,” I don’t see any hint of orange in its blush. The plant will grow from about 2½ to 3 feet, and as with any garden mum will perform best if divided regularly and flower most prolifically if pinched once or twice. The routine:

When the first signs of growth appear in spring (May for me), dig the old plants and toss the oldest, woody bits, replanting vigorous divisions 18 inches apart. Note: There will be far more than you can use, especially if you haven’t divided in awhile.

Once the transplanted divisions settle in and get to about 6 inches high, around June here, pinch off (with fingers or a pruning shears) about ½ inch of topgrowth from the terminal point, repeating after another 6 inches or so of new growth is produced. This will encourage bushier plants. If you like a looser mum, pinch just once, and in either case don’t pinch after about mid-July (the approximate time here when buds set in earnest).

I know, I know; ‘Sheffield Pink’ isn’t ‘Will’s Wonderful,’ but for now it has this other detail to recommend it: ‘Sheffield Pink’ is available, while ‘Will’ is looking for a new mail-order home. Find ‘Sheffield Pink’ at Bluestone or Lazy S’s; stay tuned about where to find ‘Will’ perhaps in the coming spring. (UPDATE: Lazy S’s has ‘Will’ for sale now.)

  1. Louis Manfredi says:

    Ours, (Cambridge MA) are extremely bushy and healthy looking– as a matter of fact kind of taking over our microscopic front garden, but so far (9/4/13) no obvious signs of blooms. Should we be worried, or patient, or should we do something else?

    They had very pretty blooms last year when we bought them about this time, lasting till the weather got cold.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Louis. Mine don’t bloom till later in September or even October when they’re grown in the ground (they get off to a later start than ones in nursery pots, I guess). Do you see buds?

      1. Louis Manfredi says:

        Hi Margaret:
        Thanks for the reply, and great site you have here, thanks for that too!

        I don’t see anything that looks at all different from the buds of new leaves, which continue to grow prolifically as they have all summer.

        But it has been a hot summer till now, perhaps now that we’re getting some cooler weather I’ll start to see some bloom buds coming along too.

    2. Louis Manfredi says:

      Sheffield pink (and It’s seed offspring, which I’m happy to have too for the unexpected variety) continue to thrive in my Cambridge garden, but continue to bloom just a week or two, or if I’m really lucky three, before the first hard frost and snow.
      My plot there is quite hot in the summer– a two foot wide strip between city sidewalk and aluminum siding house, with a South-Southwest exposure.
      I’m also lucky to have a bit larger yard in our weekend place in Hull Ma, only a few miles away, but much less hot in the summer, both due to being quite near the ocean, and a more benign microclimate– less concrete and aluminum. I’m thinking I might try moving some there this fall to see if I can get more than a few days bloom. Does anyone have thoughts as to whether this experiment is likely to be worthwhile?

  2. Jeanné Chesanow says:

    My mother who lived in Great Barrington MA gave nurseryman Fred Mc Gourty a couple of plants of this mum. It had come from Alabama to St. Louis where I had gotten it from Sally my neighbor. I called it the Sally mum. Fred misplaced the tag my mother had put on the gift plants and recalled a “woman from Sheffield” had been the donor. Fred really marketed the mums and they have become a favorite of many gardeners . I teased my mother saying that the mum should have been called the Mrs. Stewart mum. It still is growing in Great Barrington and in Cheshire CT where I live.

  3. Curt Mason says:

    We live on Oak Island, NC, a hot, humid strip of land south of Wilmington, NC. They say we are in zone 8b, and I planted a bunch of Sheffield Pink Mums last june. They are just now budding. When will they blooms pop and how long will they last. Thanks in Advance.

    1. curt mason says:

      PS. We moved here from the Shenandoah Valley, where our bed of Sheffiields did wonderfully. Hoping to get the same result here in NC.

  4. GardenOnGibson says:

    I been swooning over my 4 plants in my garden. 3 are all pink/blush, one has the apricot yellow center. Both remarkably beautiful. Oddly the 1 with the yellow apricot center starts blooming a week or 2 before the others. I gave a couple of mine a Chelsea chop in late june to keep them contained but they still have their way of being wild and free.

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