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.

Blooming Thursday: Global Gardeners



As many of my readers put their gardens to bed for the winter, I stopped by a local garden center for some annuals.  It’s easy taking our moderate California weather for granted having lived here so long. I do remember the frigid winter days in Ontario, Canada, but as a child, not an adult.

I enjoy reading gardening adventures from around the globe. It’s enriching. My friends in the Southern Hemisphere are busy planning spring gardens. To the far north, snow is already falling, and seasonal clean-up is under way.  In the warmer climates, things are fuzzier around the edges, but the four seasons prevail.

In gardens everywhere, nature and nurture duke it out.  Tiny little seeds arrive with imbedded DNA.  Tuck one under some healthy soil, add water and sun and the seed will take it from there.

Sometimes, it is that simple. Often, it’s not. Birds vie for those seeds while small critters eat the seedlings. Insects take a bite out of leaves or host on tender stems.  This can kill a young plant before it gets a foothold on life. Mold, fungus or unwanted pesticides from a neighbor’s yard can wreak havoc on a garden life.

Yet year after year, we gardeners garden. Like the tiny seed, we too have our own gardening DNA. I know gardening is in my genes.  How about you?



Halloween Countdown

The letter B pumpkin

Today’s pumpkin is brought to you by the letter “B”