Mum’s the Word

Chrysanthemums will forever remind me of my own ‘Mum’ this time of year.  She loved them.  Mums were her go-to plant.  She always brought one with her for the holidays.  She liked sending mums as a gift, saying that flowering plants lasted longer than cut flowers.  Mum and Dad owned two flower shops in Canada in the mid-fifties.  Sadly for me, they sold the shops before I was born.  I’m not sure how old I was before connecting the dots that ‘Mums’ and ‘Chrysanthemums’ were the same.

pink mum closeup

Pink Mum Closeup

A year ago I bought this pink pretty pink Mum for the front deck.  They usually last a season, dry out and then people toss them.  I don’t give up on plants that quickly, so I cut this one back to the stems and continued to water it.  It showed signs of life all summer, albeit short, green stems. It briefly sprang back to life this fall, with another display of color.

pink mums

Pink Mums


On the subject of “Mums”, “Mums!” and “Mums,” I consulted Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty on the proper use of quotes.  Her explanation went a long way toward explaining my confusion.  There is an American Usage and the Kings English usage.  Since I started my education in Canada, then moved to US schools, it explains my confusion.  I insert quotes with trepidation, and will restructure a sentence to avoid ending with a quote so that I don’t have to worry about incorrect usage.

Whew…I’m so glad I got that off my chest.

Here’s what Grammar Girl has to say:

When combining exclamation points and question marks with quotation marks, Americans follow the same logical system as the British. Where you place the other marks relative to the quotation mark depends on the context of the quotation.

If the whole sentence, including the quotation, is a question or an exclamation, then the question mark or exclamation point goes outside the closing quotation mark; but if only the part inside the quotation marks is a question or exclamation, then the question mark or exclamation point goes inside the closing quotation mark.

Quotation Marks with Semicolons and Colons

With semicolons, colons, asterisks, and dashes, we get back to a simple rule. They always go outside the closing quotation mark.


In American English, periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark; semicolons, colons, asterisks, and dashes always go outside the closing quotation mark; and question marks and exclamation points require that you analyze the sentence and make a decision based on context.

Hopefully, now that I’ve read this, copied it, edited it for brevity, the concept will stick. If not, as my grammar friend Francie likes to say, “so sue me!”

Organized at Heart

I’m posting a series of organizing around the holidays blogs this week on my blog Organized at Heart.  If the subject interests you, please go take a peak.

15 thoughts on “Mum’s the Word

  1. I just subscribed to your organising blog this morning 🙂 [Feeling very ahead of the game :-)]

    I also changed my header picture this morning and feature Orlando in a different way, not from WordPress dashboard though as I read that post after I did the change over. No snow falling for me – it’s a pity WP doesn’t think of the other half of the globe ;-( [That’s me feeling overlooked]

    In NZ we tend to call chrysanthemums ‘chrysanths’. I have on the rare occasion heard someone call them ‘mums’ – but they were probably ‘foreigners’. [That’s me being parochial]

    Re the grammar lesson – I taught English for years and still get myself caught up – now I use a plethora of exclamation points, question marks, first or third person quotation marks all together or alone, whenever the feeling takes me – just to get my point across you understand!!

    Back to the chyrsanths – they aren’t my favourite, far from it – [there is something about the smell of them that is unpleasant to me] but the colours of these are lovely. I love how you wove them in with your memories of your mum though – she must have been a lovely person 🙂


    • They do have an odd smell, don’t they. I love the colors though. Interesting that you call them chyrsanths. I like that.

      So you taught English? I’m sure you’ve cringed a time or two on my blog.

      As for snow on the blog, I had to set the widget the first year, then it was automatic after that. Let me see if I can figure it out, and I’ll ping you back.


      • Don’t worry about the snow Alys – it is unseasonable for me, I’d want to use it in the middle of your summer . We are supposed to be having a mini heatwave hit us over the next few days – it certainly has been warm today, I got the tops of my feet burnt just sitting outside for a half hour this morning. Crazy weather!!

        I have never cringed at your blog – I am always delighted! There is nothing wrong with your English except that you are American [nearly]. 🙂

        Oh, I just made myself laugh out loud 🙂 I hope that’s not just funny to me …..


  2. I literally only realised in the last month that Mums and Chrysanthemums are the same thing! 🙂
    Here in France, people put Mums on graves of loved ones every year in October (in time for All Souls Day), so in October you will often see little stalls on the roadside selling them.


      • No I’m from Ireland but I followed my heart (a lovely French man!) and moved to France nearly 5 years ago.
        In Ireland, mums are not associated with graves.
        I love learning about other cultures too, that’s why I love following blogs from all over! 🙂


        • Oh what a lovely story! My dear friend from Australia also married a French man. They lived near Paris for several years, but they’ve now moved with their two boys to Australia. Nice to have the option to live in both places.

          Are you fluent in French?


              • Oh it’s great. It helps that French was one of my favourite subjects at school, so even though I hadn’t spoken or learned French for 10 years when I moved to France it all came back! 🙂 Also, I moved over here on my own for the first 6 weeks so I HAD to speak French, that was when I made the most progress. Immersion is a great way to learn!
                I only know a few phrases in Spanish, I should learn!
                At the moment, we are concentrating on getting our baby son to be bilingual. For the moment he knows much more French than English…


  3. Such a nice memory of your mom Alys. I love all kinds of mums, but especially the giant spray mums in lime green. Adele uses all sorts extensively because of their longevity as a cut flower. I also enjoy the white spray mums in with pastels. Just one or two giant spray mums don’t cost much but can use up a lot of real estate in your arrangement, there by extending your budget to fussier, more costly stems like (for us) hydrangea or spray rose. Very clever of you to hang on to it and revive for another show too. If you have the space and it’s happy without a lot of fuss, why not.


  4. I love mums too but not in pink. I love the rust and autumn colors. I don’t like pink anything. Planted lots of mums in front of my house in the mountains. They spread and came back year after year even with the snow and freezing temps. As for the English lesson, I’m lucky to get words on the page, Sometime the grammar just eludes me though at one time I was quite good with it. I’m working hard on getting better organized here in my little space with too much stuff so I’ll pop on over again. Hugs, M


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