Graham and his Chrysanthemums
During winter the chrysanthemum stools would be placed in seed trays, surrounded with compost and kept in a dry place with some slight protection from frost.
In early Spring between four to six shoots would grow from each stool and cuttings would be taken and rooted in a suitable compost sometimes using a rooting hormone.
I found that it was surprisingly easy to root cuttings and most of the cuttings I took rooted well.
At this point some of my vegetable garden was taken over for chrysanthemum growing and the rooted cuttings were then planted out after the soil had been suitably dug over and fertilised.
After some experience I bought my own plants and names such as "Cricket" a pale yellow incurving chrysanthemum and "Sam Oldham" a reflex deep red flower come to mind.
Early flowering chrysanthemums came in three main groups. Incurving, so that the flower looks like a ball; reflex so that the petals curve back and intermediate, something of a cross between the other two.
An Incurved Chrysanthemum An Intermediate Chrysanthemum A Reflex Chrysanthemum
In these three main groups are many different types with names as above.
The idea was to get the plants to bloom at the time of our Annual Show which was always held on the first Saturday of September.
In order to do this the plants had to be stopped, that is the growing tip taken out at a certain time of the year and then the plant being allowed to grow "two up" or "Three up" depending upon the plant itself. This meant that two or three stems, each of which would bear one bloom, were allowed to grow, all other side shoots being taken out.
The plants were then staked, vaseline being rubbed around the stems to prevent insects, usually earwigs, from climbing into the flowers and the flowers were dusted, usually with derris dust and then bagged, i.e. a paper bag being placed around the blooms to protect them. Some keen growers put two bags around the bloom.
At one time I was growing about 500 chrysanthemum plants but found it difficult to compete with the chap who had started me off in this business and who was growing some 4,000 plants.
However, I did win one or two small prizes. The prizes themselves did not amount to much, just a pound or two which didn't cover the cost of plants and fertiliser. It was the thrill of winning which was the spur.
Next - Graham's present garden
Graham's present garden Graham and the Horticultural Society Graham and his Chrysanthemums Back