Grow­ing chrysan­the­mums for au­tumn

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

of au­tumn rum, raisin and berry colours, as con­trast­ing forms cre­ate a fire­work ef­fect; star­bursts of grass seed­heads spark brightly above a smoul­der­ing mass of asters, soaked and sat­u­rated with in­tense colour.

Salvias are stitched in, in­clud­ing Dr Ward’s own hot-pink Nor­well. Vi­brant salvias Em­bers Wish and Amis­tad, Dahlia Pref­er­ence, Lo­belia tupa and Rud­beckia triloba all jos­tle among the main body of daisies and tall, sul­phur-yel­low Helianthus Lemon Queen erupts at the back.

Dr Ward’s col­lec­tion of 120-plus chrysan­the­mum va­ri­eties earns him recog­ni­tion as a co-holder of a Na­tional Col­lec­tion of the genus. His re­spon­si­bil­ity to cu­rate and per­pet­u­ate spec­i­mens in­clines him to al­ter his typ­i­cal plant­ing style. Chrysan­the­mums pre­vail­ing in the au­tum­nal mixed bor­ders are du­pli­cated, un­typ­i­cally, in block-planted beds de­tached from the nurs­ery in the ad­ja­cent Parish Gar­dens. The col­lec­tion in­cludes sin­gle, tonal and bi-colours across sin­gle, dou­ble and more ex­otic cacti forms, many of them avail­able to pur­chase. Cus­tomers naïvely over­look the ex­cit­ing new Pol­ish in­tro­duc­tions, un­able to grasp their awk­ward names.

Dr Ward has bred and in­tro­duced his own chrysan­the­mums, his present in­ter­est fo­cus­ing on cre­at­ing com­pact, vin­tage-look­ing, re­silient blooms. He rat­tles off the mer­its of his favourites, which in­clude Capel Manor, bear­ing fas­ci­nat­ing ‘quills’ in yel­low. Ruby Mound is an easy-to-grow, sat­u­rated Dr Ward sug­gests: l Hardy chrysan­the­mums are truly hardy and easy to grow. Plant out pot-grown plants di­rectly into the gar­den, from March to Oc­to­ber

l Se­lect va­ri­eties in colours to com­ple­ment your au­tumn beds, mak­ing the most of chrysan­the­mums’ var­ied, florif­er­ous and long-flow­er­ing prop­er­ties

l Many hardy chrysan­the­mums are also scented; not just leafy green notes, but hon­eyed scents, which at­tract in­sects and bees pre­par­ing to over-win­ter

l Late-flow­er­ing sin­gle and semi-dou­ble flow­ered va­ri­eties such as Apollo, planted where they will be warmed by late sun­shine, are the most ef­fec­tive nec­tar providers

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