As the summer draws to an end and the first signs of autumn creep up on us, many of our friends and neighbours will be moaning and groaning about the end of summer and how they are dreading the onset of winter with its long nights and cold cheerless days. However for us gardeners this time of year is one of the best for flowers – as dahlia and chrysanthemum – two of the most magnificent flowers for garden and cutting – season kicks in.
So my advice to you is to get into gardening and you will find something to enjoy in every season!
Last year during this period I focused a few of my articles on dahlia growing techniques so I thought that this year I will write about their chrysanthemum counterparts.
A little chrysanthemum history
The etymology of the name comes from the Greek for gold – chrysos and the Greek for flower – anthemon. Chrysanthemums have been cultivated in China for over one thousand years and it is now estimated that there are over 20,000 – yes twenty thousand chrysanthemum cultivars recorded!!
The flowers on wild chrysanthemums are usually shaped like large daisies and many domestic cultivars also have a daisy shaped flower however some of the real competition winning beauties have those large pompon shaped blooms.
Which chrysanthemum is right for my garden?
As mentioned before there are over 20,000 recorded chrysanthemum cultivars so you may be wondering how do I go about choosing the right one for my garden from such a large selection? Well fortunately they are an easy flower to grow so whatever type you choose should be okay.
Chrysanthemums are usually grouped into three flowering times – early, intermediate and late. Early chrysanthemums will usually flower in September, intermediates will flower in October and lates will flower in November. The easiest ones to grow are the earlies – and they will give lovely colour to your garden in September. There are early varieties which can be dis-budded as they grow to produce single long stemmed blooms for cutting and you can also get smaller bushier plants with multiple flower heads (often referred to as sprays).
Most chrysanthemums are hardy (or semi-hardy) perennials and once you have chosen the flowering time you will be able to choose from an almost unlimited palette of colours. You can also choose from the classic anemone type flower head through to the majestic pompon often seen in show displays.
In my next post I will be writing about chrysanthemum care.