Van Chaplin, Roger Foley, and Lacy Kerr Robinson
In the early decades of the 20th century, mass-marketing of perennials didn't exist. Instead, these plants often were passed from hand to hand and from neighbor to neighbor, a gift usually prompted by a compliment. That's largely how these mums have survived to this day.
Ryan tells the story of one of the most popular old mums, 'Ryan's Pink,' named for him after he shared it with Goodness Grows nursery in Lexington, Georgia. "It was given to me by a lady named Harriet Spencer who lives in Atlanta," he recalls. "Since that time, I've seen it growing in a lot of old gardens."
Maybe that's because Harriet didn't have it first. Some claim 'Ryan's Pink' is just a renamed old favorite called 'Country Girl.' Others swear these two mums are different and that 'Country Girl' is really 'Clara Curtis' in disguise. Still others say you can tell 'Clara Curtis' from 'Country Girl' by its lacier leaf. For our part, we'll steer clear of the controversy. Let's just say that all three names represent a striking pink mum of good constitution that belongs in your garden.