Chrysanthemums are bursting into bloom

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BRIAN KIDD: Gardening galore for the long weekend

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I love chrysanthemums and years ago they were grown extensively by gardeners everywhere.

There used to be an autumn show at the Guildhall in Portsmouth and the entire stage was filled with chrysanthemums in pots.

The edge of the stage was decorated with charm and pom chrysanthemums with masses of decorative and huge Japanese varieties in huge swathes of colour.

It was wonderful and I expect many of you lovely readers remember this. But as usual an economist had to spoil everything by deciding not to do it again.

Chrysanthemum plants can be found at garden centres at any time of year because they’re very popular as long-lasting indoor pot plants. The flowers last for over six weeks but they can be kept after they finish flowering.

Once the flowers fade, cut the plants back to half their height making the cuts straight across the stem about an eighth-of-an-inch above a leaf joint (node) There are usually three plants in each pot.

Pot the clump into the next size pot, keep moist and in a light place and the plants will come into flower again next autumn. They will be much taller than the original ones.

If you would like to grow them in the garden it is possible to make a beautiful display by cutting them back as recommended and leave them in the pot.

Keep moist and in the light and in mid-April divide the plants by taking the clump out of the pots and divide the plants using fingers and thumbs.

Plant each plant three feet from its neighbour in the form of a triangle.

The plants will grow to a height of about three feet and if the tips of each branch are nipped out in mid-May, the plants will be lovely and bushy.

During February and March outdoor chrysanthemum plants are available. Have a look to see if you can find some. St Margaret’s nursery at Titchfield stocks rooted cuttings – but wait until the end of February.

If you go online and just type in chrysanthemums, you will find every type with excellent pictures.

If you don’t have a computer, pop into the library. The staff will help.

Single spray blooms are very popular. Pam and I love the small round blooms on the poms, but if you have a greenhouse it can be filled with chrysanthemums in pots with flowers starting to burst into bloom in early autumn. There are some beauties with huge flowers which are at their best at Christmas and new year.

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