Autumn’s brilliant stars: As winter looms, introduce a burst of

Must your garden have actually lost its autumn mojo, brighten it up with chrysanthemums. Late border varieties remain in their prime now, so when other plants are dead or passing away, these are newly in flower.

They’ll last for weeks yet, and are exceptional for cutting, too.

Do not confuse these with large flower designers’ varieties. Like those, they’re vibrant, carefully aromatic and last for ages.

However unlike flower shop chrysanths, these were established as durable, long-lived outdoor perennials.

Chrysanthemums are amongst the earliest known ornamentals. Prized by the ancient Chinese and hybridised for centuries, they come in a large series of ranges from giant beast flowers to stunted little pot plants.

Gardening expert Nigel Colborn offers suggestions for brightening your garden with chrysanthemums (stock image).

Border ranges are rugged, trouble-free perennials. They’re lovely to grow with combined border plants, keeping your garden beautiful when colour is becoming limited.

Exhibition or flower shops’ chrysanthemums are regularly disbudded to produce whopper single flowers. But garden varieties switch size for amount.

Flowers are little to medium. But with songs, doubles, reflexes and pompons they can be found in masses of shapes and colours.

VARIETIES FOR ALL.

The very best ranges flower in generous numbers on extravagantly branched sprays.

The earliest ranges can flower as early as August. The most recent run deep into November, sometimes even December.

As cut flowers, they last as long as shop-bought blossoms. But unlike floral designers’ ranges, they’re shapely outside plants, with pleasing foliage and flowers which are resilient in all weather conditions. Tall and medium ranges such as single, pink C. Clara Curtis grow to 75cm, with many-branched sprays.

Others such as Ruby Mound are much shorter with somewhat inwardcurving petals. There are bronzes including Starlet whose petals are spoon-shaped and Mavis Smith with pink daisy flowers into November.

Nigel states that although the flowers are sized little to medium, they come in a variety of colours (stock image).

Amongst the earliest, Clara Curtis brings plummy-pink, daisy-shaped blooms in August. The most recent I’ve grown was silverpink Emperor of China which brought fresh December flowers.

You might discover plants in garden centres. But professional nurseries bring a broader option.

Woolmans.com offer a collection with 3 doubles and 2 single-flower types. Shireplants.co.uk stock a broader variety and Woottens of Wenhaston ( woottensplants.com) is likewise worth a shot.

EASY CARE.

Border chrysanthemums are as pretty outdoors as when arranged in a vase. They mix easily with Michaelmas daisies. They make beautiful solo plants, in containers or the ground.

Any fertile soil will suit, offered it’s well-drained and in sun. High and mid-height ranges will need assistance. Others develop stocky, self- supporting mounds.

You can propagate brand-new plants from cuttings, ‘slips’ or by division. Split clumps every 3rd year, preferably from mid-March. By then, the spring shoots will be revealing very first baby leaves.

For ‘slips’, instead of splitting a clump, select and remove strong, healthy shoots. Each slip ought to have leaves and a few roots.

Re-plant them in groups of three or 5, with 10cm in between each, 45cm to 60cm apart.

In the first summer, each of the slips will grow, branch and merge to end up being a single clump.

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