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Mindfulness Garden Games
by Joann Calabrese
author of Growing Mindful
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Chrysanthemums for Transitions

Full Moon Greetings – August 30, 2023
Herald of Summer Ending

Chrysanthemums are fall blooming perennials that announce the fading of summer. Mums (for short) are beautiful and tidy plants that come in a range of shapes and colors from deep orange and yellow to lavender and mauve. Flowers are shape shifters and may resemble many other plants including zinnias, marigolds, and daisies. There are also varieties that look like pompoms, and some that look like many legged colorful spiders (my favorites).

Although you’ll see lots of potted chrysanthemums for sale at this time of year, they are best planted in the spring. Mums are generally hardy through zone 5. And one of their most wonderful characteristics is they will bounce back from early snowstorms and frost. Seeing the flowers seemingly shake off the snow and emerge beautifully is a reminder of resilience during changing times.

A Symbol of Seasons Transitioning

The garden and life are always in transition, but the change of seasons is more dramatic. Mornings are suddenly cooler with less light. The sun is lower in the sky. Seed heads are forming on summer blooming plants. And in my yard, the yellow chickadees arrive daily to feast on the sunflower seed heads.

Chrysanthemums are energetically aligned with transitioning. They arrive just as we begin to sense summer shifting to fall. Their vivid multicolor display guides us into autumn and the first snows. Chrysanthemums are a beautiful gentle reminder that a change is coming, and we need to pay attention and prepare.

Working with the Energy of Transitions

Transitions are a flowing wave of energy. And like a wave, they are made up of many tiny interconnected and moving parts. There are times in life we are riding on the wave. And other times when the wave has pulled us under. Mindfulness practice helps us to stay present to this movement and gives us a better chance at riding the wave rather than being pulled under. 

One way to actively work with this ever-present change is to first notice it. This seems pretty basic, but sometimes the busy-ness of life limits are awareness of change. We can choose to direct our energy and attention to this phenomenon.

Sitting with a journal or in contemplation we can pose questions and quietly wait for the answers.  Some of the answers might surprise us if we take the time to engage with this energy.

  • What is transitioning in my life right now?
  • Where do I notice transitioning in the world around me?
  • How can I be kind to myself during this transition?
  • How best can I adapt and flow with this changing energy?
  • How can I appreciate this change?

We can sit and notice what bubbles up as we hold these questions in our awareness.

As chrysanthemums begin to bloom, let them be a reminder to acknowledge and work with this energy of transitioning. Change can be hard – but it is also a constant. There is no way around it, so exploring ways to honor the changes in and around our lives is the healthiest option. Chrysanthemums can be the reminder to take time to work with this energy.

The Lunar Blog Post Series

Luna in the grapevines

This post is part of my lunar blog series.  Each full moon I write about one plant, many of them are plants featured in my book, Growing Mindful.  Each new moon I write about a topic related to gardens, mindfulness, and spirituality. For more details and a list of past lunar blog posts, click here. 


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2 thoughts on “Chrysanthemums for Transitions”

  1. I enjoyed a blog on fall transitions, as it’s a hard time for me to see my summer garden wrapping up and a tundra-like winter will settle on my garden. I’m using pansies as a transition, but it’s not really a transtion in my small garden tucked away among 5 joined townhouse back yards. The roof lines are cutting back on the direct sun now and within a few weeks, none of my garden beds will get direct sun again at all until late spring. So temps colder back there too, and the snow does not melt in the winter unless we have unseasonably warm spells. Pansies do allow some color and plant-life in an annual bed and can take the lower temps for quite a while. The rest of the beds have perennials which I will cut back eventually and add dirt to, so roots more protected in the cold winter to come. I put a few extra pansies in a pot so I can bring them inside and enjoy, along with a pot of basil & sage. The rest of the garden will sleep it’s wintertime away, though I know a lot is still going on under the soil.

    • I love pansies! They are a great choice and easy to bring inside. My mom had lots of chrysanthemums and I know fall is coming when they start to bloom. They always reminding of the seasons sliding into one another.


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