This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Chrysanthemum question seems as if it might bear a little more discussion. Mr. Henderson will surely not regard a plant grown in the open ground, as a good specimen of pot culture. I think a good specimen plant can be grown in the open ground and as good flowers obtained as by plants wholly pot grown; there is no doubt of that. I have grown them both ways, and the un-potted has given good satisfaction in growth, and as perfect flowers as by the latter, that of pot grown. But is this a test of skill in plant culture? Mr. Henderson says several horticultural societies call for pot grown Chrysanthemums for each exhibition. But pot grown, and merely exhibited in pots, are two distinct things.
I entertain the same opinion as Mr. Wooding respecting pot grown plants. There ought to be a separate class for them at all shows, if the judges decide as they did at Philadelphia last fall - give first premium to the largest sized plant without regard to flowers.
It would be impossible for anyone to compete with plants under one year old raised from a single cutting, wholly pot grown, with such as those. Were these entirely and absolutely pot grown? I took particular pains to examine the plants at the Philadelphia show which have been talked of so much, and which obtained first premium, and I believe that Mr. Wooding has some ground for his remarks. I might have been mistaken in their age, but am satisfied they were not wholly pot grown as claimed, as on lifting them I noticed the bottoms of the pots were all broken and the plants had evidently made considerable growth in the ground below where they had been plunged as is usually the case with most plants plunged in pots in the open ground, and notably the Chrysanthemum.
Florist, West Manayunk, Phila.
[When the day is about ended, and night approaches, there may be differences of opinion in the twilight as to whether it is night or day. This communication shows how difficult it might be sometimes to decide as to what is a pot-grown plant. For instance, florists usually now grow Chrysanthemums in the open ground during summer, lift them into pots in the fall, and have splendid plants in this way with which wholly pot-grown plants can scarcely compete. It was supposed some of those exhibited were grown in this way. This has been shown to be a mistake - for the plants were pot-grown, but the pots were plunged in the open ground. Now the question would seem to be raised: If a premium be offered for skill in growing a plant in a pot, is it legitimate to plunge the pots so that some of the roots may go through the bottom of the pot and gain much of their food from the open ground?
For our part, we should decide in favor of their being classed as pot grown plants for all this; for in any event roots will come through the bottom. The pot may be on a bench in a greenhouse, and the roots will come through into the sand or ashes beneath, but surely it is pot grown for all.
If a pot be plunged in the open ground, and many roots get through, these must be broken off to put (the pot on the stage, and the plants will wither and suffer, and this would injure their condition for exhibition. There is therefore no danger of any great advantage to the pot grower by plunging. In view of all these points, we should decide that plants in pots at exhibitions may be classed in competition as wholly pot grown, though the pots had been plunged in the open ground. - Ed. G. M].