NEW BERN, N.C. — Beautiful blooms are everywhere in Tryon Palace’s 14 acres of gardens, but chrysanthemums are the focus of the fall season.
“They are hugely popular,” said Hadley Cheris, gardens and greenhouse manager at Tryon Palace. “They are really, for a lot of people, kind of the quintessential fall bloom.”
What You Need To Know
MumFest 2021 is in downtown New Bern this weekend, October 9-10
Tryon Palace is decorating 14 acres of gardens with chrysanthemums
Tryon Palace is having its fall heritage plant sale Friday and Saturday, October 8-9
Cheris started working in these gardens eight years ago. She’s worked her way up to gardens and greenhouse manager, but she’s also used to getting her hands dirty.
“I just got really lucky that I ended up here in New Bern and have just loved it ever since,” she said.
She can’t imagine a better job than getting to work outside surrounded by the beauty of nature. She is passionate about all of the plants, but mums are a crowd favorite. In fact, every year New Bern hosts a festival dedicated to these flowers called Mumfest.
Although the gardeners at Tryon Palace used to grow their own mums, it’s a very labor intensive process. Now, they buy about 1,500 mums from a local eastern North Carolina farm to decorate their gardens.
“Daylight and sunshine affects everything,” Cheris said. “You know mums are water hogs, so we’ll never say no to a little bit of free irrigation that we didn’t have to do. But we do hope for sunny days when they’re out. It does get them to open up a little bit faster and have an easier time blooming.”
The flowers are opening just in time for MumFest this weekend, October 9-10. Mums grow really well in eastern North Carolina because they like lots of sunshine and lots of water.
Cheris has a bunch of tips for anyone who loves to garden. She says although some people treat mums as an annual flower, if you replant them this fall, they could come back in the spring.
Tryon Palace has lots of other plants in its gardens and greenhouse as well. Many of these plants will be part of its annual fall heritage sale this weekend.
“A lot of our plants are things that are a little more specialized that you may not be able to get from a larger retail store,” Cheris said. “So we grow a lot of these specifically for the sales, both in the spring and the fall, but we also use some of these for our gardens as well.”
The gardens are beautiful, but they do take a lot of hard work. So if you’re in town to enjoy the “Mumfestivities” this weekend, this is her reminder:
“Be very thankful for the mums that you see across all of our eastern North Carolina stores because somebody spent a lot of time to make them what they are,” Cheris said.
The Tryon Palace gardens will be open and free to the public during MumFest weekend. Their fall heritage plant sale will be Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.