My wife and I took a nature walk on the southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after a brush fire had ravaged the earth and turned the blackened branches of the laurel sumac trees into hands that clawed at the darkening sky. It was a scene right out of Dante's Inferno, tempered by the life that lay on the other side of the hill.
Heather Lawson was admiring the gorgeous floral arrangements on a reality-TV show about weddings when it hit her: After the big event, the flowers would be going into the trash.
"Mum" is the word this fall gardening season, literally. When nurseries and home improvement stores start to sell colorful fall mums (aka "chrysanthemums"), it's time for frugal gardeners to keep their eyes open for some spectacular end-of-season bargains.
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