21 Garden Forms
by Judy Barker
(published 2nd April 2008)
Koreans Rubellums and
With three 90 ft x 30 ft allotments under cultivation, I am
entering the seventh trial year of the fully accredited NCCPG
‘National Collection of Koreans Rubellums and hardy sprays’®.
Anne, Lady Brocket
From mid-August until November the plots are a riot of colour
but the task of maintaining the collection does not stop with the
cultivation of the plants and the work of recording continues.
Ground, and weather (vernalisation) conditions, root formation,
basal growth and plant performance are all carefully recorded
together with pest and disease problems.
Year on year a detailed
profile of garden worthiness is being achieved. In addition backups
of each variety are transferred to cold frames in my garden.
The plants in
my collection are a representation of the history of the development of
these garden forms between 1920s – 1970s with a few later hardy
seedlings. As GS Thomas states in his letter plants introduced after 1960
are generally not fully winter hardy. The collection has provided much
enjoyment and during the flowering season it is interesting to walk up and
down the rows observing plants and recalling the old catalogue
of course, is that these plants cannot be entered in the Plant Finder
unless they are available for sale to the general public and allotment
regulations do not allow me to engage in a commercial activity so I have
taken the decision to supply a selection to several nurseries and the NCS
free of charge in return for Plant Finder entries. This will allow me time
to carry out the further research into the history of the plants.
Ten cultivars from the collection are presently in the Field Trials at
Wisley, two have been awarded AGMs and a further ten will be entered in
the spring of 2007. Later in the winter of 2007/2008 the RHS are also
planning to run hardiness trials at Wisley in order to establish whether
their results match my own findings. At present I am providing the
cuttings needed for the Trials.
Field Trials, Wisley 2007
currently on trial at Wisley are: C. ‘Ruby Mound’ AGM; C. ‘Sea
Urchin’ AGM; C. ‘Perry’s Peach’; C. ‘Ailine’; C.
‘Brightness’; C. ‘Nancy Perry’; C. ‘Ruby Raynor’; C.
‘Mary’; C. Aunt Millicent’; C. ‘Grandchild’ and the plants
selected for the spring of 2007 are; C. ‘Columbine’; C. ‘Starlet’;
C. ‘Yellow Starlet’; C. ‘Nell Gwynn’; C. ‘Mauve Gem; C.
‘Princess’; C. ‘White Gloss’; C. Shining Light’; C.
‘Louise’; C. ‘Spartan Seagull’.
Research into the history of these plants has been a most interesting and
rewarding experience. Many visits were made to the Lindley Library and
much time was spent poring over bound volumes of old magazines and boxes
of catalogues. It was exciting to handle books from the personal library
of Joseph Paxton with their exquisite drawings that illustrate the text.
Similar research was also undertaken at the herbarium and library at
Wisley together with the records held in the Field Trials Office. Another
valuable source was the archive of Francis Perry deposited at Capel Manor
Horticultural College, Enfield. Searches on the internet have been
invaluable in tracing and acquiring several informative books long out of
print. Not to be forgotten are the many kind people who have taken the
time to send much valuable information.
Gardener’s Chronicle of November 30 1957 I came across the following
letter which summarises what I am trying to achieve.
Hardy Chrysanthemums; Information Wanted
by G.S. Thomas
chrysanthemum has always been a valuable autumn flower, and as one goes
through towns and villages in October and November one is struck by the
beauty of garden after garden full of old stalwart varieties; varieties
that one sees again and again, in every district, in the same plots every
year, undivided, unstaked, and often not manured. These sturdy plants are
just what we need to-day; they go on year after year and are fully hardy
and perennial needing no annual lifting and propagation by cuttings the
disadvantage of many modern varieties.
would like to know two things; the names of the modern October and
November flowering varieties which can be trusted as perennials in the
open border and will stand without staking, and whether any grower has a
collection of the splendid old garden varieties complete with names. With
reference to my first enquiry, it would be interesting to have details of
the soil in which they are successful.
the Koreans, originally very hardy perennials. Have become soft through
hybridizing. And I suspect the same thing will happen to the Rubellums.
Chrysanthemums bring such a fresh fragrance and such beauty of colour into
our gardens and rooms that all good varieties are welcome, but I deplore
the trend towards ever-earlier flowering varieties of tender constitution
in a flower that started life as an autumn flowering perennial.”
How I would
have loved to have meet G S Thomas and shown him the results of my own
trials. I can imagine quite a lively discussion.
plants were collected
The plants in the collection have come from several sources. Many were
purchased from nurseries that were either on the point of closing or
discontinuing the sale of garden forms of chrysanthemums. Valuable support
and help has been given by the Hardy Plant Society and other NCCPG
collection holders who were also growing chrysanthemums in addition to
their own specialities. Once again last autumn many shoeboxes and Jiffy
bags have arrived in the post containing roots and flowers. As a result
there are forty-two additional plants to grow and record in 2007. Many of
the plants are not identified but have survived many years in gardens with
little attention paid to them.
| For example interesting sweet scented
plants covered in flower perhaps a little ragged because of the weather
but covered in hover flies up to the second week in November.
USA, France, Germany and Japan are included in the collection but I have
little documentation. There are a few catalogues at the Lindley library in
Japanese etc. but beyond my translation capabilities!
Any information would be most welcome.
Koreans and Rubellums
What exactly are the differences between the two varieties? My experience to
date is that some of the cultivars described as either a Korean or a
Rubellum exhibit the characteristics of the other. Research into the
history of the plants is necessary in order to establish the origins
of the names. In October 1928 Alex Cumming of the Bristol Nursery,
Connecticut, USA, crossed C. ‘Ruth Hatton’ with C. coreanum
the seeds of which had been obtained during an expedition to
Korea by Ernest Wilson and brought to the USA. Cummings named the
resultant seedlings “Koreans”. Growing to a height over 2½ ft.
the plants flowered late.
Names of the planets Mars, Apollo etc. were given to each
In 1934 Wells
Hardy Plant Nursery of Merstham, Surrey secured the distribution rights in
the UK and their adverts are to be seen in The Gardener’s Chronicle
listing the plants from the Bristol Nursery. Shortly afterwards Fred
Simpson of Pool Road Gardens, Otley, Yorkshire, acquired some of the
Koreans and between 1940 to 1960 bred the Otley Koreans that gave us
shorter and earlier flowering garden forms. Some time in the 1930s Amos
Perry of Enfield, Middlesex, crossed a plant obtained from Kew called C. rubellum
with another chrysanthemum. Unfortunately, his records are lost and
the identity of the other plant remains un-established. The resultants
plants were marketed under the name “Perry’s Rubellums”.
|Because of the
history I have come to the conclusion that the two names Korean and
Rubellum are trade names. Since the 1930’s there have been so many
crossings between them that the whole naming of these two categories is in
a complete muddle. In 2006 this resulted in a discussion at a Trials
Committee meeting and the RHS have asked the NCS to consider the matter.
A new category in the classification of genera “Section 21 garden
forms” was proposed by the NCS.
Wisley Display 2004
These garden forms of chrysanthemum have not been included on the NCS
register and efforts are now being made to add them retrospectively using
the research to date. Representatives of the NCS Committee visited the
allotments on two occasions in October 2006 and around one hundred
cultivars were registered. Where possible the plants on the allotments
were compared with the descriptions that appeared in the original
catalogues and other sources. My hope is that with the names in the Plant
Finder it will become easier for people wishing to buy garden forms in the
future. At present my trials are trying to establish if all entries under
section 21 are fully hardy in all parts of the UK.Over the years
crossing and sports have given rise to problems with names. Examples are:
Perry’s Jessie Cooper
|Mrs. Jessie Cooper,
Mrs Jessie Cooper 1, Mrs Jessie Cooper 2. There
is also a pale pink version of Jessie Cooper at the Conservatoire
National du Chrysantheme in Paris.
Perry’s Lady in Pink
Procession, Pink Progression
forms with same name
Mei-Kyo means “Treasure of Kyoto” but the Kyo part of the name is now
written with a small k in the Plant Finder, another matter to
Uses in the
We must play around with these plants and stretch the border possibilities
and combinations, perhaps with grasses, so as to extend interest into
November in glorious colour, or even later in a sheltered area. Our
autumns are staying milder longer now, so it’s worth a try.
sports C. ‘Bronze Elegance’ C ‘Purleigh White’ and C.
‘Nantyderry Sunshine’ AGM form dense multi-stemmed bushy plants
flowering profusely in October these could make a low hedge edging a
border. Green June to late September then changing dramatically as the
hedge flowers. After all the cascades are clipped to shape so why not a
hedge? I keep running out of space to try this. C. ‘Lady in Pink’ will
do this without clipping forming a lovely domed shape.
Three plants of Lady in Pink filling a
five foot strip
North American History
Because of World War Two UK nurseries were given over to food production
and flowers were discarded in preference to food crops. Many garden forms
were put aside. However, the breeding programme continued in the USA where
Dr Jacob Kraus, a botanist at Chicago University, was especially prolific.
His plants were sold though Dick Lehman of Faribault, Minnesota, who was a
breeder on his own account and also in association with the University of
Minnesota. An annual colour catalogue was published and the phrase “Mums
from Minnesota” was coined. C. ‘Ruby Mound’ AGM is one result of
Lehman’s breeding programme.
C. ‘Grandchild’; C ‘Starlet’; C. ‘Yellow Starlet’; C. ‘Sea
Urchin’ are also Minnesota Mums. The business was sold in 1972 but the
University breeding programme continues to this day. Other breeders in the
North Americas were Dr A C Hildreth (Denver Botanical Garden), Dr L
Longley (University of Minnesota), Yoder Brothers (Ohio), George J Ball
Inc (Illinois), G Viehmeyr (University of Nebraska), Orville and Leva
Dunham (Michigan) and Dr F L Skinner (Manitoba).
Since the 1960s there has been no major breeding programme for these
garden forms in the UK but development has continued in North America
where hardiness trials are being undertaken which we seem not to be doing.
In the past few years US breeders have collected wild chrysanthemum
species from West China close to Tibet in order to cross back to their
genetic pool in their breeding programme. The University of Minnesota
advertised “My FavoriteTM”
in 2001 described as a shrub-like plant bearing frost-tolerant flowers and
attracting butterflies (something I had noticed in my plants and commented
on above). Work at Minnesota is also continuing with the wave or prostrate
Mums which in the UK we refer to as ground cover plants.
Trials in the
USA have provided much interesting information on aspects of hardiness. In
his 1964 book “The Chrysanthemum Book” Roderick Cumming (son of Alex)
late November just before the ground freezes over, we dig clumps with a
good ball of soil and set them on top of the ground. When the plant
freezes hard a light covering of mulch is put on to lock in the frost.
This is left until spring. This harsh treatment insures good drainage and
submitted by N Anderson and E Gesick of University of Minnesota says:
garden chrysanthemum breeding program could collect data on emergent
rhizome number in the fall of the first years growth to determine winter
the University website carries a report that the lethal temperature
for outdoor types is around –12C in the ground which means a much
lower air temperature.
findings are reflected in my experience of the plants in the
collection over the past six winters. After flowering has finished
and the plants begin to die down forming the rhizomatous roots the
number of newly emerging basal growths gives an excellent indication
as to winter hardiness. My conclusion is that digging up and taking
these plants to a warmer frost-free environment will do them no
good. They must have a period of vernalisation of around four weeks
at least, so they can develop their winter storage roots. Or better
still leave well alone in the ground.
It is no good pretending that nothing ever happens. Sporadically brown
rust has appeared which was treated with Sythane. Receiving plants from
all over the country has run the risk of eelworm when spotted the whole
stem was removed and destroyed. Some of these plants have been cut back
over a whole season and recovered with good results.
better than cure and healthier plants are achieved if not overcrowded and
the more vigorous shrubby types up to 2 feet apart. A light drench of
liquid slug bait when the soil begins to warm in the spring will remove
the hatching ground slugs which can do so much damage to the roots. This
application is used by Hosta growers for Chelsea. I do not grow as a
mono-culture, these are allotments after all, so the vegetables are grown
in between the rows.
I hope I have
made a case for promoting Section 21 garden forms. There are some
excellent cultivars. How about considering growing them once more?
Plants can be
obtained from, (subject to availability as they are being bulked-up)
Norwell Nursery, Little Heath Farm, Southview Nursery, Daisy Roots,
Cotswold Garden Flowers, Monksilver Nursery, NCS; in 2008 Harveys Garden
Plants and Phoenix Perennial Plants.
article and the pictures contained in it are copyright of Judy Barker and
may not be reproduced or copied without permission from the Author.
Selection of flower 'Forms'