CHRYSANTHEMUMS in ABERDEEN

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2001 Paul Barlow


Laurie's page

INTRODUCTION Laurie Bird lives in Bathurst, Australia. Bathurst is on the east side of Australia about 250km inland from Sydney.

The 1999 show season proved particularly successful for Laurie - exhibiting at three different shows this year. The first two were local shows where Laurie came away with the Grand Champion bloom in each, along with Most Successful Exhibitor in the Bathurst Show.

After these shows the cars were packed with blooms for the drive to Sydney and the Chrysanthemum Society of NSW Annual Show. Not just one car mind you - but three stationwagons full of blooms, most of which arrived at the venue safely, after a "very shaky" 2 1/2 hour drive.

A total of fourty entries were made which took the best part of the day to stage.  They were judged the next day. The results for this show were 18 firsts and 11 seconds. Laurie also received the Champion Large Exhibition with Jessie Habgood and Champion Medium Exhibition with Primrose Supreme. This latter bloom also took out Best Vase in Show.

Laurie didn't stop there, he also received the N.C.S. Silver Medallion plus the N.C.S. Award of Merit for 6 large distinct blooms.  The blooms in this exhibit  were Nancy Furneaux, Lancashire Fold, Jessie Habgood, Mark Woolman, Yellow Duke and Colonial Heritage.

He managed to accumulate the most points in the show to fulfil a ten year ambition and win the Forrest Glen Nursery Trophy. And finally, to top off an incredible day, Laurie was presented with the 1999 Grower of the Year Award!


Laurie has kindly agreed to be the first guest contributor to my pages and provide a quick run through the methods he used to achieve his tremendous successes. These are based on methods used by Brian Robinson from Merimbula; Laurie wishes to record his thanks to Brian for sharing his growing methods so freely.

Starting off with compost mixes and covering, propagation and growth stages, managing the buds and keeping plants clean and pest free, and finally making the most or the blooms after they are cut.

Thanks Laurie, and Well Done!


SOILLESS COMPOST
My growing programme is based on soilless compost. My potting mix is as follows:
Three 2 gallon buckets of Peat Spagnum and Cocopeat mixed 50-50.
One bucket of Sand.  (I use course Sand about 3mm particle size).
50 grams Phostrogen
70 grams of  Super
50 grams of  Lime
220 grams of Dolomite
125 grams of Hoof and Horn
1/2 level teaspoon of  Trace Elements
PH should be about 6.5

PROPAGATION
Cuttings were propagated using this compost in polystyrene boxes.  No covers were used, unless no one was at 
home to water.
Cuttings were snapped off and dipped in hormone rooting gel then inserted into the boxes.  The boxes 
accommodated 35 cuttings in rows of five.  They remained here for about 4 weeks, keeping moist with 
overhead sprays.
I started propagating in late September.

VEGETATIVE STAGE
Next to the mixture itself, the most important factor between success or failure is following the correct watering 
programme.  Once the plants are in final containers, the rapidly developing vegetative growth will soon exhaust 
the initial plant foods added to the compost at mixing time.  

As the peat and sand are sterile components, a constant supply of the growth nutrients must be maintained along 
with the correct amount of the trace elements.  Soluble liquid fertilisers, Green Gardener (24: 4: 16) and 
Phostrogen (14: 4.4: 22.5), are used in equal parts to satisfy the needs of plants grown in Soilless Compost, if 
used in the following manner. When a plant, in any size pot, is to be watered, and this will be very often, a
1/4 teaspoon to 8 litres of water, is used at every water when plants begin to FLAG.  Make sure when plants 
are watered they are watered thoroughly and excess flows freely out the drainage holes of the pot.  
Everyone that grows Chrysanthemums would of at some time, read or heard of 'little and often' being mentioned 
in feeding programmes.  That's exactly what is needed from 6 inch pots through to final pots and the 
vegetative stage.

BUD STAGE
Four to six weeks before the bud is visible, the plants were given an increase in nitrogen 
(Green Gardener, 24: 4: 16).  A level teaspoon to 8 litres of water is used at every water as mentioned, 
right up until calyx split. 
 
 At this stage the plants were given clear water until a 1/3 of the petals were out, then feeding of nitrogen 
began again at the rate of 1/4 teaspoon of nitrogen to 8 litres of water, all the way through to full bloom. 
 
The plants also received a top dressing of compost around the end of December and another early in February.

SPRAYING PROGRAMME
laurie6.jpg (34714 bytes)  

 

Through the growing season Malathion and Clensel were used for aphids and red spider mite as well as Carbaryl for leaf eating pests.   

From calyx split to full bloom a systemic spray was used (Folimat 50) to keep the blooms free of pests.

 

This picture was taken at the Sydney show. The blooms in this exhibit are:
Seatons Goldfinger (spider), Cloverlea Companion (anemone), Jessie Habgood (large), Orange Heather James (exhibition incurve) and Glad Eye (single).


TRY TO MAKE THEM LAST
Some blooms were cut as much 
as five days before the show
 in Sydney, so to make them last 
I used the following in the 
vase:-
In a cup of hot water simply dissolve:
One teaspoon of Milton 
(used to sterilise babies bottles)
One teaspoon of Alum
Eight teaspoons of sugar.
Add this to 4 1\2 litres of cold water.

 

The blooms shown here were also in 
the Sydney Show, they are:
are in clockwise order starting from
front left are Stoakes Pioneer, 
Stoakes Supreme, Joan Spencer, 
Snowbound, Primrose Supreme 
and Connie Mayhew.

 

laurie7.jpg (36294 bytes)

If you would like further information or wish to comment on this publication please send your e-mail to: paul.barlow@chrysanthemums.info

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Last updated on 26 December, 2001