If you visit a nursery in July, you will probably see there, somewhere off to the side, hundreds of potted, not-yet-in-bloom chrysanthemums. Such a sighting is of little consequence to the casual gardener. But to others, including me, it is a chance to obtain the very best selection, and maybe – just maybe – at a bargain price.
Experience has taught me that chrysanthemums, without flowers, have very little commercial value. Thus, if you buy them in advance of bloom, you will probably get them at a discount. I obtained a dozen plants last July for a fraction of the autumn-cost. These, two months later, brought beautiful decoration to my porch steps and walkways. I eventually gave them a permanent home in the Serpentine Garden, where in one year’s time they have become an attractive hedge.
And if you buy your mums at this time, what a selection you will find! Exciting yellows, glorious golds, and muted burgundies. Of course, you need only to water the pots from now through frost. The grower has already pinched the plants to imminent perfection.
So don’t wait until fall, when the only chrysanthemums you can find have been well-picked over. Buy them now, when most gardeners and decorators don’t desire them. You’ll thank me for this bit of advice when October rolls around.
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