Bristol Post - - HOMES AND LIVING - Em­peror of China any af­fected leaves.

How to bring some colour to your plot dur­ing th­ese some­times gloomy Novem­ber days

The Chi­nese have a say­ing – “if you would be happy for a life­time, grow chrysan­the­mums”. They’ll cer­tainly make you happy in Novem­ber by bring­ing cheer and colour to oth­er­wise flow­er­less plots. It’s per­haps for this rea­son that gar­den ‘mums’ are mak­ing a big come­back. In­creas­ingly, gar­den­ers want more value from their smaller plots all year round and are at­tracted to plants that will de­liver colour and ex­tend sea­sonal in­ter­est in the gar­den.

Wildlife such as hov­er­flies, bees and but­ter­flies will also ap­pre­ci­ate that ex­tra bit of nec­tar. So if you like rich au­tumn colours such as ruby red, deep pink, rus­set, yel­low, gold and or­ange, then mum’s the word!

Hardy chrysan­the­mums flower from around Septem­ber through to Novem­ber or even as late as De­cem­ber in some ar­eas, and are not to be con­fused with florist chrysanths which are far showier but need to be lifted over win­ter.

Check when pur­chas­ing that they are in fact hardy – gar­den cen­tres also sell bed­ding types that won’t last through the win­ter so you may need to pur­chase from a spe­cial­ist nurs­ery in­stead. In very cold ar­eas it would be a good idea to cover the crowns with a dry mulch to pro­tect over win­ter.

Hardy mums will do best in open sunny po­si­tions – they’ll blend well in a mixed bor­der and are also great for pots and con­tain­ers. Plant along­side other later flow­er­ing peren­ni­als such as rud­beck­ias and asters for a re­ally jolly dis­play.

When plant­ing, pre­pare soil as you would for most herba­ceous peren­ni­als with a gen­er­ous dol­lop of well­rot­ted gar­den ma­nure or com­post.

Dur­ing the sea­son be care­ful not to over­feed as you can get floppy growth. Pinch­ing out when they are de­vel­op­ing buds can help pro­mote bushier

■ Herba­ceous peren­ni­als with fleshy roots can be prop­a­gated suc­cess­fully from root cut­tings dur­ing late au­tumn and win­ter. Ver­bas­cum, prim­ula, Ja­panese anemones, acan­thus, ori­en­tal pop­pies and phlox are all suit­able species for this method.

■ Prune fruit bushes – red­cur­rants, goose­ber­ries, and black­cur­rants – dur­ing the dor­mant sea­son.

■ ■ Con­tinue to mow your lawn if it is still grow­ing but try not to walk on frosty grass as this causes dam­age.

■ growth, or do the Chelsea chop to cut them back in late May/early June to main­tain a com­pact shape.

Cut down af­ter flow­er­ing and mulch around the crown. Like most late flow­er­ing peren­ni­als, if you need to lift and di­vide, do so in spring. Do­ing this ev­ery cou­ple of years will stop them be­com­ing woody and leggy. You can also prop­a­gate from cut­tings in May.

The main prob­lem you will en­counter is chrysan­the­mum white rust. This ■ If it’s too wet and windy out­side, browse cat­a­logues and books to de­cide what seeds you will or­der for next spring’s sow­ings. Other in­door jobs in­clude giv­ing seed trays and pots a wash. Use a bit of bleach to ster­ilise them. Now’s also a good time to clean and oil gar­den­ing equip­ment such as se­ca­teurs, spades and forks. is a fun­gus that does well in cold, wet con­di­tions and is iden­ti­fi­able by yel­low and brown spots on the leaf with cor­re­spond­ing pus­tules on the un­der­side which can turn white.

It can lead to shriv­elled leaves or gen­eral stunted growth. As with most fungi, you need to be vig­i­lant and re­move and de­stroy any af­fected leaves or the com­plete plant if se­verely af­fected. Fungi­cides need to be ap­plied reg­u­larly to be ef­fec­tive.

Mulch bare soil to help keep it weed free Mulch bare soil as this

Chelsea Physic Gar­den

Con­tinue to mow your lawn if it’s still grow­ing

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