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
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
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!
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
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
I started propagating in late September.
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
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.
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).
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
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.
If you would like further information or
wish to comment on this publication please send your e-mail to: email@example.com
Last updated on 26 December, 2001