HARDY PERENNIALS: CHRYSANTHEMUM

C. maximum. These may not appeal to everyone as border plants though they are mostly reliable enough and are widely used for cutting. Division should take place in spring. Modern varieties include doubles, such as the well known C. ‘Esther Read which grows 2 feet, but this is less reliable than the taller C. ‘Wirral Supreme’. Other doubles include C. ‘Horace Read’ and C. ‘Moonlight’, but semi double or ‘anemone centred’ varieties are attractive, in which C. ‘Aglaia’ and C. ‘T. Killin’ are outstanding. Both these have flowers 4 inches across. The purely singles are the most common, and two good larged flowered varieties for those who like them are C. ‘Everest’ and C. ‘H. Siebert’. Both grow to 3 feet. Hybridists have tried desperately to breed coloured Chrysanthemum maximum and I remember as a boy my father, who was a cut flower grower, saying that anyone who could raise a yellow ‘marguerite’ would make his fortune. I never tried, but others did, though such an Eldorado was never attained, despite varieties being introduced with such names as C. ‘Cobham Gold’ and C. ‘Moonlight’. In these there is only a flush of pale yellow in the centre and the outer petals are still white. The arrival of C. ‘Esther Read’ was however a landmark, for it was the first double to be raised. It has become so well known that this name alone is often used, and so popular for cutting that flowers are dyed to colour as required for sale.

CHRYSANTHEMUM maximum 'Wirral Supreme'

CHRYSANTHEMUM maximum ‘Wirral Supreme’

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