The Million Mum March

Chris Beytes

We spotted this aerial photo on the Facebook page of Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum with the clever intro: “The million mum march is well underway.” We wanted to know more, so we asked Gary for a copy of the photo and some details.
“The idea was just to create energy around getting the product from the farms to the retailer,” he said of the “million mum march” tagline he dreamed up. “It was two years ago because that’s when we broke the actual million mark, in unit sales, with mums. We’re up around 1.4 [million] now,” he adds, “But we still call it the million mum march.”
This Bell Nursery farm, located in Marydel, on Maryland’s eastern shore, is just one of Bell’s mum production sites. His locations in Virginia and North Carolina produce the rest. All are slated for shipment to hundreds of Home Depot stores along the Atlantic coast.
Gary ranked the fall sales season (as of mid-September) as strong.
“We’ve probably got the best pansies we’ve had in five years … the mum crop is strong. We had some rain early and heat early, which slowed us down in sizing up, but we’re good now on our size. And sales have been very good.”
Also showing in the photo are ornamental kale and some of next year’s perennials (in the brightly colored pots to the left). GT