We are having a wonderful November, beautiful sunshine and no frost means that there is still plenty of colour in the garden. I never used to like chrysanthemums, I used to associate them with dismal pot plants and funerals. But a few years ago I discovered the small flowered Rubellum and Korean chrysanthemums. Don’t ask me which is which, I can’t tell them apart. But they are all lovely. Many of the varieties I have bought in the last couple of years are rare ones propagated by Suffolk Plant Heritage so it is nice to have the added pleasure of helping to preserve plants on the red list.
One of my favourites is ‘Mavis Smith’ which was found by a member of Suffolk Plant Heritage in the garden of her Pilates class. It is the tallest and most vigorous of all my chrysanthemums and instantly recognisable because of its quilled petals which make the flowers look like pink shuttlecocks.
I have a clump growing alongside which is another rare chrysanthemum with creamy semi-double flowers called ‘Edelweiss’.
Another pink one, but this time with a white halo at the centre is ‘Jolie Rose’. This is one of my most recent purchases and I am very pleased with it.
A lot of the gardens round here seem to grow Chrysanthemum ‘Suffolk Pink’. I don’t know anything about its history but I suppose it is a local one. I read that it is very rare but it is not round here, everyone has it. It is a very vigorous one.
I have bought a dark pink one with tiny pompom flowers this year. It is called ‘Julia Peterson’. It blooms for ages.
Chrysanthemum ‘Mei -Kyo’ is an old variety from Japan. It is smothered in pink pom -pom flowers for a long period.
I grow it in front of the long flowering Rose ‘Bengal Beauty’ and alongside Salvia uliginosa.
‘The Emperor of China’ is a very old one, Gertrude Jekyll wrote about it in 1880. It is absolutely gorgeous with silvery pink quilled petals. Its foliage develops beetroot red leaves in late autumn.
‘Clara Curtis’ has pale single flowers, it is a very old variety and it is extremely vigorous.
I have a single, red one which is very pretty and I cannot remember its name so I would be very happy if anyone could help me out.
‘Chrysanthemum ”Buxton Ruby’ has the smallest, darkest, red semi-double flowers.
Coppery colours are perfect for this time of the year and ‘Marion’ is a rare semi-double chrysanthemum which is a gorgeous rich apricot.
I bought this next one as ‘Sonya’ but I think it may be wrongly labelled because when I googled it, the only ‘Sonya’ I could find was pink. Maybe my friend Anne, who is the propagating queen for Suffolk Plant Heritage could help us here. Whatever its name, it is a beauty.
Anther rare one which is on the endangered list is gorgeous ‘Picasso’ which has masses of double flowers in a lovely, peachy colour.
‘Golden Greenheart’ has a double layer of petals and a distinctive green centre. It is rather unusual.
My favourite golden chrysanthemum is the late flowering ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’ . It has bronze double flowers which are gold on the reverse of the petals. It is the last of my chrysanthemums to come into bloom.
I seem to have rather a lot of yellow ones so next year I shall look for other colours. Again on the red list, I have Chrysanthemum ‘Jante Wells’ which is a rare and sought after variety with bright yellow flowers.
‘President Osaka’ is a another very rare chrysanthemum. It has sprays of acid yellow flowers.
‘Cottage Lemon’ is very similar but is much more readily available.
I have a few more, but that is probably enough for now. Next year I shall certainly buy some more chrysanthemums because what else fills the garden with such vibrant colour in November ?
I did mean to write about the greenhouse today but the sun was shining and as I walked round the garden there were explosions of colour everywhere and I wanted to come in and celebrate them. I hope you will see one or two that you might like to try, they really brighten up the November garden and they bloom for ages.
Before I go, I will give you a little taste of something that is happening in the greenhouse, and that is a tender chrysanthemum that is just coming into bloom and it is quite astonishing. It was a present from Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and it is quite stunningly beautiful. It is called ‘Salhouse Joy’ and it is certainly bringing me a lot of joy; many thanks Cathy.