This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Who has ever seen the beautiful Daisy Chrysanthemum, without admiring it, and desiring to add to his own callection a few plants so gemmed with bud and blossom in October, November, and December We have few plants that bloom so well as the Chrysanthemum, and that can be so neglected for half of the year and suffer so little. The flowers appearing, too, just at the time when most needed to relieve the dreariness of those months so full of sad remains, of falling leaves and fading flowers.
Yet it requires some little experience to cultivate this beautiful plant, with entire success. In one book you will be told to "pinch out the tops to make them break," and in another to avoid the same thing from fear of preventing their blooming. Some recommend the "one shift system," and others to change them often from small pots to larger, as they increase in growth. It may be that in each of these different ways they have been cultivated so as to display much beauty, because they have been cultivated with care and attention. But I have a little experience to give and hope that others, as well as myself, may derive some benefit from it.
Four years ago I began to cultivate the Chrysanthemum - the large or Indian variety. The first year, from eight or ten plants we had one beautiful flower. The secfrom five or six plants. The third year, (1852,) we added to our collection five or six of the Daisy or Pompone variety. The plants were plotted early in the season, and many of them repotted occasionally. From necessity they were placed with other plants in the shade of a large building, where they had the sun for a very short time in the morning, and for one or two hours in the evening. The plants seemed to grow finely, not losing their leaves, but retaining them to the rim of the pot, so large and green, they seemed to be very perfect as well as beautiful. But when the time came to look for flower buds there were but few to be seen. Still we hoped on until the 23d of November, when, from fifteen or twenty plants we had fourteen flowers in all, on five plan to - one of them was a Daisy Chrysanthemum, with three flowers. There was after all quite a large number of buds, but they all, with those few exceptions, came to nothing more.
The fourth year, (1853,) it was determined to keep the plants out of the shade. Though other plants did finely, it was very evident it was no place for the Chrysanthemum. As our grounds were not inclosed sooner, we were unable to get them out until the 23d of May. They were taken from the house and planted in a warm, sunny exposure. Some shoots that had become quite long were layered, and soon striking made fine bushy plants. Other shoots were cut in pieces of about three inches, and the cuttings were planted in the open ground, (where they soon strike without the protection of a glass or shade, if the ground is kept moist). They were not potted until July, August and September, in the pots in which they were to bloom, with no drainage at all in the pots; kept in the shade for a day or two; they were again removed to a warm sunny spot, and the pots were placed on boards which rested on the ground. In September, October, and November, they were occasionally watered with a weak solution of sulphate of ammonia, (half an ounce in a gallon of water). The latter part of September, from fear of frost, they were removed to the house, and began to bloom about the 20th of October. Some might have been bloomed sooner, had they been placed in a warm room.
But in November and December some of them were a mass of bloom, and they generally retained their foliage to the rim of the pot One plant, "Autumna," about twelve or thirteen inches high, "according to measure," had ninety-five blossoms, besides which there were buds and imperfect flowers. The large varieties, as Temple of Solomon, Jenny Lind, Fleur de Marie, La Reine d'Or, etc, bloomed finely, also.
A few plants were left out for trial, and in a warm, dry place under the windows. La Gilana, Poulidetto, and Sacramento, bloomed about the middle of November. The climate is much colder than that of Rochester.
So much of "experience'" Now permit me to give a little advice. If you would like to bloom them in the open ground, put them in a dry, warm border1 - under your south windows would be a good place, if there are no trees in the way to hide them from the sun. Some of them bloomed earlier than others; for instance, Sacramento, Autumna, La Gitana, Solfatare, Poulidetto, etc., all pretty, and good bloomers, within doors or out.
If you would like to bloom them in your parlor or greenhouse in Mav take strong cuttings from those in the open ground, place them in the sunniest spot in your garden, where they can remain until August or September, allowing them, of course, plenty of room. In such a place the plant will break freely and have a fine, bushy top without pinching at all; and these plants will retain their lower leaves better on account of being in the open ground. Or, when your cutting begins to grow, you may cut it off within an inch of the ground, and it may become still more dwarf, and perhaps have a large number of flowers. Pot them in August or early in September, in good, rich mold; water once a week with manure water, or a solution of sulphate of ammonia. If they mildew, syringe them with sulphur water; or, if you have no syringe, just before a shower comes on, sprinkle them well with sulphur. Remove them to the house before there is danger of sharp frosts, but keep them out as long as you can, especially if they are intended for the parlor. After two or three hard frosts perhaps they might safely remain out for one or two weeks. After this, a south window in the parlor is probably the best place for them.
In December or January, after the bloom is over, you can put your plants in a cold, frosty room; and if you want,the pots, turn the plants out and place them close together, cutting off the tops, of course. Or, if you have the heart to do it, throw your plants away, and return to your garden in the following May for a fresh supply. In this way you have the plant in pot about three or four months, and that at the time when you think less of the trouble on account of the flourishing buds and beautiful blossoms.
[W. is an amateur cultivator who has been eminently successful. Whatever be says is entitled to the fullest confidence. - Ed].
Turn old varieties of the Chrysanthemums, (popularly known by many as Artemesias,) hare long been inmates of our gardens and green-houses - where they are esteemed for cheating even November and December, (those two dreariest months of the year to the devotees of Flora,) into something like a gay appearance.
Some new varieties have lately been introduced into this country, so distinct in their appearance, as, at first sight, to be scarcely recognized as the same flowers. We mean the Daisy Chrysanthemums - of which the accompanying sketch of a boquet of the different varieties, affords a good idea. The flowers, (shown exactly the natural size,) are so small, and so neatly formed, as to look far more like daisies, or quilled China Asters, than Chrysanthemums. The plants, too, are dwarf and bushy, occupying far less space in the greenhouse, than the old sorts. For the garden, they are, we believe, equally hardy with the latter.
All these small flowered Chrysanthemums have, we believe, been originated from seed by the French florists, from a variety called the " Chusan Daisy," brought out from China by Mr. Fortune.
Messrs. Parsons, of Flushing, Thorburn, of New-York, and other leading florists, had pretty collections of these miniature, or Daisy Chrysanthemums, in bloom last autumn, and they may no doubt be had this spring at any of the large general nurseries, at very moderate prices.
We received last autumn, from Messrs. Ellwanger & Babey, of the Mount Hope Nurseries, Rochester, a small box, containing some exquisite blooms of these Daisy Chrysanthemums - so clear and pretty in color, and so petits and distinct in form, as to be mistaken at first sight for rare small asters. The following arc the names of the sorts from Messrs. E. & B:
Crimson purple - quilled and prettily formed.
Light pink - very delicate.
Pure white - round and small, like a small white Daisy - one of the best.
Yellow - with orange center.
Purplish pink and white - prettily shaded.
Light pink - open centre.
Dark pink - good flower.
The following are excellent varieties of the Daisy Chrysanthemums, which are to be had in some of the nurseries:
Light crimson - full double - inclining to purple.
Flower very double, imbricated - about half an inch in diameter - color lilac.
Rosy white - regular in form - about three quarters of an inch in diameter.
Fine small crimson flower, about half an inch across.
Rich beautiful crimson - nearly an inch in diameter.
Yellow - full double - about half an inch broad.
Color silvery, inclining to purple - flowers quite small.