This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
So fine and so long an autumn has done much to increase the taste for this flower. In the cottage and the nobleman's garden, out of doors or within, the Chrysanthemum has been unusually gay this season.
We will, as briefly as possible, give our readers the benefit of the information we acquired by attending the Stoke Newington and Norwich shows, as well as by visiting the principal collections about London. There were some fine specimens at Stoke Newington, both growing and in a cut state; yet, generally, the plants at Norwich were superior, more dwarf and healthy, and altogether better grown, with their dark green foliage and abundant bloom. We believe that the cuttings of these plants were put in about the first week in June; fine healthy shoots were selected, placed in gentle heat, and not allowed to flag, or in any part of their after-growth to stand still. Six cuttings, each in small pots, when struck were divided into three, and potted off into a 4-inch size, thus giving two plants to a pot. These plants were then grown in the most open part of the garden, and placed at a good distance from each other in all their stages of growth, and never allowed to suffer for want of water, in fact never allowed to get dry. Liquid manure was used when the pots had become full of roots. The plants required stopping once only, about three weeks after they had been potted off.
For this part of their culture a certain guide is, when the roots have tolerably filled the pots, and the plants have swollen well, then take a good piece off, and from four to six shoots will break; whereas if topped in a young state, by merely pinching out the top, two eyes will be more likely to break than more. Two plants thus grown together will form a fine bush, if repotted once or twice when they require it. It will be seen that the principal things to bear in mind are, not to put the cuttings in too soon, and to select such as are stout and fine, and to keep them well at work throughout their after-growth. We need scarcely add that the Chrysanthemum uriates in strong, rich soil.
Instead of reporting both the Norwich and Stoke Newington shows, we will give our readers a descriptive list of the best varieties seen at both, adding a few new ones not so well known.
Ann? Salter, pale yellow, very double, and fine.
Barbette, rosy pink; very pretty.
Beauty, rosy lilac, fine and large.
Comte de Rantzan, noble dark crimson; petals very wide.
Cyclops, buff, cups very much; under side of petals shaded with orange-salmon.
Duchesse d'Aumale, blush.
Emile Lebois, rosy blush.
Fleur de Marie, white, anemone-flowered centre.
Florie, rosy lilac.
Goliath, blush, very large.
Helvetius, deep crimson, compact flower, rather loose habit.
Jenny, purple crimson, fine.
Justine, pale lilac.
King of Crimsons, deep crimson.
King, rosy pink.
L'Ange Gardien, white, good habit.
La Reine d'Or, pale orange; inclined to quill, but good.
Madame Poggi, noble crimson.
Madame de Commerson, crimson, neat and compact, good habit.
Madame Miellez, blush.
Nonpareil, large lilac, free bloomer; fine showy variety.
Nancy de Sarmet, white, anemone-flowered centre; similar to Fleur de Marie, but has only one row of guard-petals.
Pilot, deep pink, or rose. Pharamond, orange-crimson, large but loose. Pluton, brown-crimson, rather small. Phidias (Salter), shaded rose, fine shape; one of the best. Pompon d'Or, nankeen, good petal. Pomponette, orange, small compact flower. Pius IX., orange-crimson, bronze tip, fine. Polar Star, white, large and showy, quilled. Queen of Gipsies, orange, good. Queen of England, blush, large, and fine. Reine des Beiges, blush, good shape, late. Rigolette, orange-salmon, large. Rose et Blanche, pale lilac, delicate, pretty. Superb Clustered Yellow, large gold yellow. Standard, crimson, fine shape, early. Satyr, pale orange. Strictum, white, with purple stripes. Saturne, orange, small, good shape. The Duke, blush, good shape. Temple de Salomon, gold yellow; a noble variety. Unique, white, yellow centre, compact. Vierge Marie, white, yellow centre when opening. Vulcan, crimson. Vesta, white, fine shape, and good in every respect.
Those who procure or possess the above will have a first-rate collection. The quilled varieties are thought but little of now; we never liked them.
In the following remarks respecting Chrysanthemums I shall chiefly confine myself to the mode of cultivating them in pots. As soon as the plants have done flowering, I cut them down, and place them in any convenient corner on the south side of a wall, where they are in some measure sheltered from frost and north-easterly winds. They remain in this situation undisturbed, except by watering them now and then, until the end of March, when they are removed to a more open place, preparatory to their being wanted for the purpose of propagation. Chrysanthemums may be increased by cuttings, layers, and offsets; I have often grown them from the latter; but I have found the foliage so apt to go off them, and leave the plants naked at the bottom, that I greatly prefer cuttings, which, with good treatment, will retain their foliage green and healthy almost to the rims of the pots. The best time for putting in cuttings is the latter end of April, or the beginning of May. I use the points of the best shoots of the current year's wood, not more than two or three inches in length, cutting them close to a joint, and removing the bottom leaves.
When potted, I transfer them to a close frame; and if it is convenient, I assist their striking by means of a gentle bottom-heat, but this is not absolutely necessary, for they strike readily without it. I shade for a few hours in the daytime, until they have taken root, when I give them plenty of air, and pinch out their tops, which causes them to break freely. When the shoots have grown an inch or two in length, I pot into large sixties, in a mixture of turfy loam and one-third rotten dung, selecting the strongest and bushiest plants, and discarding the rest. When potted, I again place them in a close frame, and shade a little until they have made fresh roots. They are afterwards set out of doors, sufficiently far apart to prevent their being drawn, and kept well supplied with water. When the shoots have grown three or four inches in length, I again pinch out their tops, in order to make them bushy; and after they have grown an inch in length, I shift the plants into 6-inch pots, placing them again in their former situation; and when they have filled the pots well with roots, I re-pot them into 9-inch pots, in which I flower them, using the same compost as before. I now place them thinly in a nice open place, where they have a free circulation of air: this keeps them dwarf and healthy.
I keep the pots clear of weeds and suckers; water them as often as they require it; and when they have fairly set their flower-buds, I give them some good clear manure-water twice a week, or more or less according to the state of the weather. About the beginning of October, I remove some of the most forward plants under glass, giving them plenty of air during the day. The others are taken in as they are required, or as the weather may render necessary; for though hardy, the Chrysanthemum will not stand more than 4° or 5° of frost, without sustaining some injury. I bloom here every year about 150 plants, varying from one to two feet high, and having from twenty-five to thirty fullblown flowers on each plant, many of which do not require a single stake to support them.
It may be worth while to remark that, if some of the most promising snoots of out-door plants are layered in the beginning of September, by giving them a twist, and pegging them down a few inches below the surface of the ground, so as to make young plants about ten inches high, they will be well rooted in three weeks, i. e. if they are kept watered. When rooted, they may be taken up and potted in 6-inch pots, and placed in a close frame for a few days, while they make fresh roots; afterwards they should have plenty of air. Plants managed in this way are very suitable for the front shelves of the stage, or for mixing with other plants.
The earliest and best flowering of the plants I take cuttings from are selected and planted in any vacant places in the shrubberies, all the shoots being first shortened back to within six inches of the pot. This causes them to make more shoots, which are again stopped, thus keeping the plants dwarf and in due bounds, and inducing them to bloom at a season when few flowers adorn the garden.
April 11, 1850. T. R.