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potted plant

stoop-warming: potted chrysanthemums

When I take walks around my neighborhood, I love looking to see how my neighbors celebrate the passing seasons by decorating the outside of their homes. This time of year there are pumpkins and cornstalks and bales of hay overtaking many of the neighborhood doorsteps. Soon there will be white lights and pine boughs and holly branches. By spring, it’s daffodils and hyacinth to celebrate the warmer weather and summertime means window boxes and planters filled to brimming with all manner of cheerful greenery.

From September to November there’s one outdoor decoration with staying power longer than the others: chrysanthemums. They’re nestled into window boxes, planted around tree trunks, and standing at attention along the steps of every other brownstone on the block. The fact that they’re so ubiquitous doesn’t change my opinion of them one bit. I think they’re just lovely. Tucked into terracotta pots, their own autumnal colors take center stage: deep orange, bright yellow, and faded magenta.

Even better than being nice to look at, mums (as chrysanthemum’s are more commonly called), are also inexpensive and easy to care for. This makes them the perfect gift to offer a new neighbor.  It’s especially nice if you take the extra time to repot the mum in a terracotta pot from a local hardware store. A small terracotta pot usually only costs a few dollars but drastically improves the presentation of the gift. More importantly, you save your neighbor the trouble of repotting it themselves! Tie up your potted plant with a ribbon and include a sweet note and you’ve readied your neighbor a housewarming gift that warms the sidewalk, too. Best of all, there’s no need to worry if your new neighbor doesn’t have a stoop to perch a pot, mums do just as well indoors as out!

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