I really never thought I’d write a post on the subject of Chrysanthemums, let alone consider growing them for cutting. I’ve spent the past “too many to count” years collecting unusual and desirable perennials for my garden, and the last twelve months hatching my plans to become a grower of #britishflowers for cutting. But I dream of growing flowers such as Sweet Peas, Larkspur, Nigella, Ammi and Dahlias, to name but a few – why add ‘mums, ‘Xanths’ or however else we might abbreviate their name to the list? After all, are they not the staple of the petrol station forecourt or the supermarket ‘grab’ bunch; stiff sprays of garish yellow or an unlovely shade of mauve, wrapped in cellophane, hardly what the aspiring grower of refined, unusual and fragrant blooms wants to be handling?
But I was wrong – on all counts. Something happened to me in the course of last week to change my point of view; and I’d like to share it here.
I use Twitter to engage in flowery chat with other like minded souls, and it is largely thanks to that medium that I’ve developed my flower farmer plans and gained support and inspiration from others; growers and florists alike. We all share the same vision – to revive interest in and demand for #britishflowers. This vision is not confined to the UK either. In the USA, Debra Prinzing is promoting ‘Slow Flowers’ i.e locally grown, seasonally produced blooms that have not been chemically treated to make them last weeks in the vase and then air freighted half way around the world; exactly what #britishflowers and the Flowers from the Farm network is all about.
As well as following Debra on Twitter I also follow another American grower, Erin Benzakein of Floret Flower Farm – and it was a link posted by Erin to a blog post she’d recently written about chrysanthemums that brought about my total change of heart. Follow the link, and I defy you not to be moved and inspired to feel the same. Erin’s blog takes you to another blog, written by another American flower farmer, Jennie Love, again about chrysanthemums – and it contains her ‘top ten’ of recommended varieties for cutting. You might not find all of the names on the American list on a UK grower’s site (I’m happy to be corrected on this point by the way) but I guarantee that if you spend enough time browsing the Chrysanthemums Direct site, or the site of any other UK chrysanthemum grower, you will soon have a list that easily compares. And let’s face it, if we as the flower farmers increase our demand for the unusual, speciality blooms the UK breeders (who deserve our encouragement) will I’m sure, be more than happy to step up to the challenge.
And just to show that subliminally, I must have been wanting to grow Chrysanthemums as part of my flower farmer plans, I just hadn’t recognised it; here is a photo of some I’ve grown this year as an experiment. I just never expected to fall in love with the flowers in quite the way I have!
Needless to say I’ve made my list and will be placing my order for next Spring very soon.