Flowers by Philip is a large flower shop that I pass by on my way home. Larry is the florist who always helps me when I stop in. He began in his family's shop long ago, where he would spend most of his time. His first memory in life is that of tapping on the cash register keys in their Midtown shop, which was similar to an old typewriter.
I stopped by last week because I noticed buckets of mums in their cooler. With potted mums appearing everywhere, it is easy to overlook the other beautiful varieties that are in season now. Mums belong to a large family of flowers. The plants are robust and stand up well to the cold weather, so it was no surprise to hear from Larry that they make for some of the longer lasting cut flowers.
According to Larry, one should have no problem getting over a week out of a bouquet, and much more if you choose tighter blossoms. And attesting to this hearty nature, mums love to have their stems snapped, rather than cut.
I asked him to pick out a few to show the variety. The variety was quickly apparent, from the button varieties all the way up to the massive, velvety football mums– I had to cut him off far before he had taken one of everything in the cooler. He recited the names as his hands picked for firm stems, a habit that I think he could do with any flower variety (Larry also spent years working with a flower wholesaler).
My favorites are the ones he calls the 'Peter John' mums, as well as the Red Rover variety. They have beautiful, languid petals. Somehow the Peter John petals remind me of Beta fish tails.
For those of you left seeking color after this month's AT competition, I can't say enough about these mums. They have done a brilliant job of bringing in gorgeous color to my front room. And they are still going strong after over a week. Matt N.