Pots of mums, in bud, or just opening, are appearing at nurseries and horticultural outlets and national grocery chains for fall planting. They make fine plants for a cemetery service and for fall gardens, especially on steps, patios, etc. They will provide flowers of white, yellow or maroon.
As the days shorten as summer turns into fall into winter, this is the natural time chrysanths come into bloom.
To obtain flowers at other times of the year, the nursery workers use a combination of plant breeding and special lighting and darkening techniques, with black plastic covers, to trick the plants into thinking it is the fall. Mums are normally tall, but again, professional growers use height retardants to keep pot mums at a short height for indoor year-round plants.
Any gardener in this province can grow chrysanths to the blooming stage at this time of the year. The success rate improves if you can protect the plants against early frost, which may occur in late August or September, by using temporary covering.
You can have blooms up to Christmas if you have a cold or heated greenhouse. Plants are obtained in the spring and transferred into larger pots to grow in and then planted in the ground.
As my word usage has shown, chrysanthemums are abbreviated in many countries to “chrysanths” or “mums.” They are now popular all the year round as a potted plant, for cut flowers in vases or arrangements.
This genus of flowers is subdivided into three groups:
1. the overall species, which includes the annual types and the perennial Shasta Daisy;
2. the hybridized chrysanthemums for growing indoors; and
3. the early flowering outdoor chrysanths derived from Chinese and Japanese species.
Classes: there are a number of classes, depending on colours, the form of the petals or florets and sizes from which to make your selection. Typical are large football mums, incurved, reflex, sprays and pom-poms.
Garden mums: plants are still available at local nurseries for fall colour in your garden. These are short-stemmed plants and fairly hardy and should be planted in a fairly sunny location.
Harvesting is finished. This is the ideal time to cut down to near the ground all of this year’s fruit-bearing canes. These are the dark brown ones, with still the odd raspberry, or husk attached.
The young, bright green ones, that have grown this year, must be retained to bear the raspberries next year. After cutting, secure the canes to stakes, or horizontal wire along the rows, to protect against damage by fall winds or winter snows.
The early crops are already being harvested, as witnessed by cars parked along the highways and parked cars with bags of blueberries and other fruits for sale. The ones visited last weekend said the blueberries were picked by hand as most of the crop was not yet ready to be harvested with a blueberry rake.
Jobs for the week
Thin out bunches of grapes using a pair of scissors and removing the tiny, immature grapes and leave those growing normally. Broom can be pruned back to just above old growth.
Continue harvesting black, red and white currants, gooseberries and other crops.
Dig over the land as it becomes vacant from the harvesting of vegetables.
Now is the natural seeding time for mature perennials and the time when the seedlings of, up to now, hidden maple and other tree seedlings, that have been missed.
Lift unwanted maples and others before their tap roots become too deep and the saplings too big.
This is particularly important where they are growing next to the house and will ruin the foundation, or under patio decks, etc.
J.J. Strong is a longtime member of the Newfoundland Horticultural Society.