Chrysanthemum Story by Doris Joyce
Here goes with
||Looking for a challenge
I am well in my 70's and always been a gardener. I did the usual things
that everyone does - keep the garden nice, grow tomato's, beans etc. but
like a lot of mature people I became bored with doing the same thing every
year and I needed something challenging to do. My Father used to grow
Chrysanthemums when I was a small child and I could still remember the
beautiful blooms he handled with so much love and care. He used to show
them but I have never seen any pictures of anything he grew.
I always used
to buy my blooms from the florist and would pay around £1.50 for each
bloom. I thought if my Father could do it why can't I?
asked the N.C.S.
I started to look around the garden centres for cuttings but could never
find any so I rang the National Chrysanthemum Society and asked if
they could help me find some. They put me in touch with Frank Charlton who
told me I had left it too late to buy cuttings (it was about April) but he
would send me what he had.
Another request for assistance
When the cuttings came I hadn't a clue what to do with them. Did they
still require heat, or could I put them straight into a pot, anyway I just
got some multi purpose compost and put them straight into a large pot. I
thought they are large plants so they need large pots. As I said I
hadn't a clue about growing them so I decided to put a message on the
N.C.S. message board on the 13th May 2008 asking if anyone could help me.
|My request answered
I received a reply back from Ivor Mace who said he would give me any help
I needed. I had no idea who this man was I had never been interested in
Chrysanths until now so names meant nothing to me. I accepted his generous
offer and told him about myself. My age, the area where I lived and
what I cuttings I had bought. His first thing he did was to find out for
me where my local Chrysanthemum Society was in Doncaster and contacted the
secretary Barry Hogg there for me who invited me to go along to
the next meeting which was in June.
As you can
imagine there were so many questions I needed answering to know
more about Chrysanthemums. I did obtain books to read and looked
information up on the internet but half the words I was reading was like
studying a foreign language to me. I didn't know what a lateral was
or the difference between an incurve and intermediate. I didn't even know
there were early varieties and late ones.
At first I didn't like keep emailing Ivor Mace. At this time Ivor was
still working and every time I sent an email I would remember something
else I should have asked before and felt very guilty every
time I sent another message sometimes there were as many as 8 or 9 at a
time. Ivor soon put my mind at rest and told me to ask whatever I wanted
at any time. He started to teach me how the plant system worked with
watering so that I wouldn't over water the cuttings I had bought. He was
starting from the very bottom with me and he knew it. I can't tell anyone
how much patience he has when he is teaching someone .The months went by
and as I had purchased my cutting very late and put them into the wrong
pots to start with the plants grew and flowered but as you can
imagine were just blooms to put in my vase.
At least Ivor
had got me through the feeding stage and I felt as if he had dragged
me to this point but at least I had something to put in a vase.
I continued to attend the monthly meetings at Doncaster and then the
question came what were STOOLS. To me a stool was to sit on. The
questions Ivor Mace had to answer were unbelievable. I wanted to know
so much and I was so desperate to learn more and more. He never once
complained but always put me at ease by saying "ask what you want and
I will help".
|I wanted to learn even more
I studied anything I could to try and understand how and what these plants
need to make a good bloom although it is a hard subject to understand, and
by this time I had looked on the internet and found a lot of names
and who they were. Names like Ivor Mace, Paul Barlow, John Peace just to
name a few, and I saw the pictures on Paul’s web site of the shows and
the size and perfection of these lovely blooms. I wanted to learn
more than ever how to grow blooms like these.
Ivor on hand yet again
The time had arrived for taking cuttings and I had been
practicing rooting my own plants but without any success, I realised once
again I was over watering the cuttings and they were just rotting. Once
again Ivor was bombarded with questions.
The new season
came and Ivor very generously sent me new cuttings which he himself had
rooted. Now the teaching really started. I learned how to mix my own
compost and what size pots to start them off in, how long to leave them
before they needed re-potting and step by step I was taught every week
what the next stage I my plants should be at.
Ivor asked me
to send pictures at regular intervals so that he could keep a check on how
they were doing and he in turn sent me pictures of his so that I
could compare and if I needed to do anything different he would
advise me what to do. What a challenge he had taken on with me! I wanted
to show my blooms but more than that I wanted to WIN.
My first show at Markham Grange
The first show came up and it was at Markham Grange at Doncaster. I
entered my very first show and was very nervous I didn't know I had
to dress every bloom let alone know how to do it. Ivor Mace had
explained to me how to make my transporter to carry the blooms to the show
and Barry Hogg had given me a demonstration at the meeting, but dressing a
flower had never occurred to me. I thought they grew like that.
WRONG WAS I?
my winning vases at Markham Grange
I didn't know
what to do and Ivor lived hundreds of miles from me and I had
practiced on a Billy Bell I had and had bruised all the petals. When I got
to the show I was surprised how helpful everyone was. Barry Hogg showed me
how to place the blooms into the vase and how to dress each bloom. I met
John and Allyson Peace who were more than willing to give me little
tips on how to do things. I felt more relaxed knowing everyone was so
helpful and I was not alone. I won a first prize and a second
prize but also won the best in show for the novice section.
|Rotherham – ambitions
The following week I entered The Rotherham Show 2009 and I am pleased to
say I didn't need any help. I won 2 first prizes with my blooms. I had
achieved what I set out to do.
My thanks to Ivor
I would like to thank everybody who helped me, in particular Ivor Mace for
all his patience and sharing the knowledge he has acquired over all the
years and for making me a winner in just one year - he is a
I would like to
let others know who fancy growing Chrysanthemums but are afraid to have a
go - JUST GO FOR IT! There are lots of people who will help you.
the concluding part of my Chrysanthemum Story 2009 click here => Part
Mayor of Rotherham presented the trophies to the winners
but I had my picture taken with him anyway!